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4.4-6 Capacity to Contract - Apparent Authority

New March 5, 2010

The defendant <name of principal> maintains that (he/she) is not liable to the plaintiff because <name of agent> did not have either express or implied authority to enter into <specify transaction> that is the basis of the plaintiff=s claim. Even if you do not find that the <name of agent> had either express or implied authority, you must still decide whether (he/she/it) had apparent authority. Apparent authority is that authority which a principal, through (his/her/its) own acts or statements, causes or allows a third person to believe (his/her/its) agent possesses. 

Consequently, apparent authority is to be determined, not by the agent=s own acts, but by the acts of the agent's principal.  The plaintiff has the burden of proving that <name of agent> had apparent authority to enter into <specify transaction> on behalf of the defendant, and (he/she/it) must prove that the defendant caused the plaintiff to believe that <name of agent> had such authority. 

To prove that <name of agent> had apparent authority to bind the defendant by (his/her/its) actions the plaintiff must show: 

(1) that the acts or statements of the defendant would lead a reasonable person to believe that <name of agent> had sufficient authority to enter into <specify transaction> or that the defendant knowingly allowed <name of agent> to act as if (he/she/it) had such authority; and  

(2) that, as a result, the plaintiff, acting in good faith, reasonably believed that <name of agent> had the authority to bind the defendant to (his/her/its) actions.  

If the plaintiff does prove both of these elements, then you must find that <name of agent> had apparent authority to bind the defendant by (his/her/its) actions in <specify transaction>, and that, therefore, the defendant is liable to the plaintiff. If the plaintiff fails to prove either one of these elements, then you may not find that <name of agent> had apparent authority to bind the defendant, and the defendant is not liable to the plaintiff for <specify transaction>. 

Authority

Tomlinson v. Board of Education, 226 Conn. 704, 734‑35 (1993); Yale University v. Out of the Box, LLC, 118 Conn. App. 800, 808 (2010).
 


 

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