This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
To allow a recovery against an infant, the articles furnished must not only be such as may be necessaries, but they must also be in fact necessary for the infant under the actual circumstances. Accordingly goods which would be necessaries if furnished in reasonable quantity, may be furnished in such excess as not to be necessaries, at least as to the excess over a reasonable amount;1 while if the infant is in fact furnished with the articles sold, the vendor cannot recover for the additional supply as for necessaries.2 The better view of the infant's liability
47 Saunders v. Ott (S. C), 1 McCord 572.
48 Cantine v. Phillips' Admr., 5 Harr. (Del.) 428; Price v. Sanders,
60 Ind. 310; Chapman v. Hughes,
61 Miss. 339.
49 Stowers v. Hollis, 83 Ky. 544. 1 Hart v. Prater, 1 Jur. 623.
2 Wharton v. Mackenzie, 5 Q. B. 606.
3 Jenner v. Walker, 19 L. T. 398.
4 Garr v. Haskett, 86 Ind. 373; Sams v. Stockton, 14 B. Mon. (Ky.) 232; Jordan v. Coffield, 70 N. C. 110.
1 Johnson v. Lines, 6 Watts & S. (Pa.) 80; 40 Am. Dec. 542.
2 Bainbridge v. Pickering, 2 W. Bla. 1325; Cook v. Deaton, 3 Car. & P. 114; Barnes v. Toye, L. R. 13 Q. B. D. 410; McKanna v. Merry, 61 in the latter case is that it depends upon the fact that he is not supplied with the articles furnished; and not upon the good faith or the careful inquiry into the facts made by the party supplying the goods.3 While it is sometimes said that one furnishing goods to an infant should inquire into his circumstances,4 this is merely good business advice and not a rule of law. If the goods are in fact necessaries the party can recover without showing any previous inquiry;5 while if they are not necessaries, no amount of careful inquiry will aid the vendor in recovering, for necessaries. If the infant is supplied with sufficient money for necessaries, but instead purchases on credit, the vendor cannot recover as for necessaries.6
111. 177; Angel v. McLellan, 16 Mass. 28; 8 Am. Dec. 118; Swift v. Bennett, 10 Cush. (Mass.) 436; Davis v. Caldwell, 12 Cush. (Mass.) 512; Hoyt v. Casey, 114 Mass. 397; 19 Am. Rep. 371; Decell v. Lewen-thal, 57 Miss. 331; 34 Am. Rep. 449; Kline v. L'Amoureux, 2 Paige (N. Y.) 419; 22 Am. Dee. 652; Guthrie v. Murphy, 4 Watts (Pa.) 80; 28 Am. Dec. 681; Elrod v. Myers, 2 Head. (Tenn.) 33; Nichol v. Steger, 2 Tenn. Ch. 328. affirmed. 6 Lea 393. "If a tradesman trusts an infant he does it at his peril and he cannot recover if it turns out that the party has been properly supplied by his friends," per Tenterden, C. J., in Story v. Perry, 4 C. & P. 526, 527; 19 E. C. L. 508.
3 Story v. Perry, 4 Car. & P. 526; Barnes v. Toye, L. R. 13 Q. B. D. 410; McKanna v. Merry. 61 111. 180; Hoyt v. Casey, 114 Mass. 397; 19 Am. Rep. 371; Perrin v. Wilson, 10 Mo. 451.
4 "The plaintiff ought to have made inquiry." Cook v. Deaton. 3 C. & P. 114; 14 E. C. L. 232.
5 Dalton v. Gibb, 7 Scott 117; 5 Bing. N. C. 198. It has been said, "whether inquiry were made or not, the question for the jury would still be the same," Brayshaw v. Eaton, 7 Scott 183, 186; 5 Bing. N. C. 231. In a case of a husband's liability for goods furnished to his wife, the court, in discussing the necessity of inquiry, said: "The report states that the plaintiffs had no knowledge of the circumstances of the husband or the necessities of the wife. That is immaterial. The burden of proof is upon them to show facts which create the defendant's liability. If they sold goods upon his credit without his express authority, they took the risk of being able to prove an authority by implication of law." Eames v. Sweetser, 101 Mass. 78, 80.
6 Nicholson v. Wilborn, 13 Ga. 467; Nicholson v. Spencer, 11 Ga. 607; Brent v. Williams, 79 Miss. 355; 30 So. 713; Rivers v. Gregg, 5 Rich. Eq. (S. C.) 274. , Contra, in England, Burghart v. Hall, 4 Mees. & W. 727.