Business Associations, Pages 44–46

Kidd v. Thomas A. Edison, Inc.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1917

Facts:

Defendant, Maxwell, hired Fuller to find singers who would agree to perform for him in "tone tests" to demonstrate the capabilities of record players. After engaging them and finding out how much they cost, he planned on finding record dealers who would agree to pay them for performances, at which point he would guarantee their payment. Defendant would also pay transportation fees and act as their agent. Fuller signed a contract with plaintiff, guaranteeing her an tour without any conditions upon finding paying dealers first, despite not being authorized to do so.

Procedural History:

Verdict was granted for the plaintiff.

Issue:

Did Fuller have apparent authority to hire plaintiff unconditionally?

Reasoning:

While performances just to compare their voices to those played from records are a new invention, music recitals are not. Typically, an agent like Fuller has no restrictions like defendant imposed, so it was reasonable to assume that he had the authority to do so. And given how comprehensive Fuller's business was, one could not expect prospective performers to insist upon verifying the contract with defendant.

Holding:

Yes, Fuller had apparent authority. Motion denied.

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