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Alabama Law Case Study: Young v. Weaver

Facts of the Case

Young, a minor under Alabama law, rented an apartment from Weaver under a contract that lasted from September 20, 2001 to July 31, 2002. Young paid a $300 deposit as well as her portion of the rent that was due for September, October, and November but then vacated the apartment and stopped paying rent. While living there, Young’s dog caused $270 in damage to the apartment. Weaver was able to rent the apartment to someone else in June 2002.

Weaver sued Young in Small Claims Court of Tuscaloosa County and won a judgment of $1370. Young appealed to the Circuit Court of Tuscaloosa, where the case was tried de novo (anew) and lost in a judgment for Weaver of $1365. Young appealed to the Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama.

Was the apartment a necessity for Young?

No, under Alabama law, the apartment was not a necessity for Young.

Generally, minors are not bound to their contracts unless the contract is for “necessaries.” Alabama follows a two-step analysis to determine whether a contract with a minor involves a necessity: 1) Is the subject of the contract (in this case, housing) generally a necessity? 2) Is the subject a necessity to this minor (Young) specifically?

The court answered the first question that yes, housing is generally a necessity. However, Young’s parents were willing and able to provide housing to Young, and she did actually live in her parents’ house both before and after she lived in Weaver’s apartment. Thus, the answer to the second question is no, this apartment was not a necessity to Young. Therefore, Young is excused from performing her obligations under the contract with Weaver.

Reversed and remanded.

Describe the conflict that occurred between parties that caused them to appear in court in the first place. This section should be at least one full paragraph.

How have the parties involved in this legal dispute progressed through the court system so far (up to the point of the current case)? For example, if this is an appeal, what happened at the original trial or in previous appeals? This section may range from one sentence to a full paragraph.

Phrased in the form of a question, this should be what the current court is trying to decide. It is rarely a question of guilt and innocence (criminal cases), or a question of liability (civil cases: torts or contracts). Rather, usually it is a question regarding a procedural decision made in an earlier court, or a more substantive decision regarding the interpretation/application of an existing law (either statutory or common law). This section may be only one sentence, or it could be a couple sentences if there are multiple issues the court is deciding.

This should be simply the answer to the question(s) in the Issue section. Sometimes the answer will be “Yes” or “No,” but this section is usually only one short sentence.

Here is where you describe the reason the court gave for making the decision it made. In other words, this is how the court (in the current case, not in previous cases) justifies the Holding.This section should not include your opinion, but rather a report on what the judges decided and more importantly, why they decided the way they did. This section should be at least a full paragraph, and could be multiple paragraphs.

What does the court in this case say should happen next for the parties? For an appellate court, this section will usually say that the lower court’s ruling is affirmed, reversed, remanded, or some combination. On the rare occasion we read a trial court opinion, the disposition will usually be a ruling made in favor or against the moving party: motion granted, motion denied, case dismissed, etc.

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