West Virginia Law Review

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There is no doubt that one who purports to deal as agent for a named principal will be made to foot the bill, if his agency turns out to be mythical or if his authority is not broad enough to cover what lie proposed to do. In undertaking one more discussion of the nature of the personal liability to which the agent of a disclosed principal or claimed principal subjects himself in the event no such agency or authority as is assumed really exists, the writer may seem to be threshing old straw. But prior treatments, while often excellent as theoretical or descriptive exercises, have stream lined the case materials to the point of oversimplification and have largely neglected the practical consequences, if any, which are involved in settling the nature of the liability. Making no pretense to ambitious speculative re-examination of the various theories and propositions advanced, I propose here to catalogue the American decisions to find out on what basis the agent is held to answer in the several states, and, in a subsequent instalment to inquire whether it makes any difference what the nature of the liability is and, if so, what difference.

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