Q: Can a company enter into a New York contract with a minor?
Popular singer Rihanna recently filed a breach of contract lawsuit in New York against her former financial manager, Berdon LLP. The singer alleges that the two parties entered into the agreement for Berdon LLP to handle her financial affairs in 2005, when she was just 16 years old. In most states, both parties must be at least 18 years of age to enter into an enforceable contract. Otherwise, if the party is under the age of 18, it may be argued that he or she lacked the legal capacity to enter into the agreement.
Given New York’s ties to the entertainment industry, it is inevitable that companies will enter into contracts with parties who are under the age of 18. Merely having the parents or legal guardians of the minor co-sign the contract is often not enough to make the agreement enforceable. Under New York contract law, entities can seek judicial approval of contracts entered into with minors. The statute was specifically enacted to address performing artists like Rihanna. However, going this route may be expensive and time consuming.
Although Rihanna, in her legal action, is not seeking to use her age as an excuse for failing to live up her end of the agreement with Berdon LLP, the case brings to light the issue of contracts with minors. Companies should be wary about such situations. It would be prudent to seek proper legal guidance from an experienced New York breach of contract lawyer before entering into such an agreement.
To learn more about contracts with minors and other New York business litigation matters, contact a New York business litigation lawyer today at (888) 497-3410 for a free consultation.