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Shoals Ford, Inc. v. Clardy

588 So. 2d 879 (1991)

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Shoals Ford, Inc. v. Clardy

Alabama Supreme Court

588 So. 2d 879 (1991)

Facts

On April 3, 1989, Bobby Joe Clardy visited Shoals Ford, Inc. (Shoals) (defendant), where he signed a sales contract for the purchase of a pickup truck he had first seen two days earlier. On April 5, 1989, Bobby Joe’s wife, Maxine Clardy (plaintiff), and her daughter informed Shoals that Bobby Joe was in the midst of a severe manic-depressive episode and should not be allowed to go through with the purchase. Shoals ignored the women, took Bobby Joe’s down payment, and gave him the truck. Bobby Joe was hospitalized for mental illness that night, and shortly thereafter Maxine became his conservator. In that capacity, Maxine sued Shoals to have the sales contract set aside and to recover the down payment. The trial judge instructed the jury that to avoid the contract on the ground of insanity, the jury had to find that Bobby Joe’s condition deprived him of any reasonable perception or understanding of the contract’s nature and terms. The jury found that Bobby Joe was in such an incapacitated state at all times between April 1 and April 5. The jury awarded both compensatory and punitive damages to Maxine. Shoals appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court, contending that the jury instruction conflated the events of April 3, when Bobby Joe signed the contract, and April 5, when Shoals first learned of his condition.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Houston, J.)

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