emarxnj wrote:Quick hypo that's been bothering me. 17 year old girl's car breaks down in the snow in middle of nowhere, finally finds a motel which seems to be the only thing around for miles. She goes to rent a room, owner sees she is desperate and has nowhere else to turn, and instead of charging the usual 100$ rate, he charges her 200$. I think that's everything relevant.
Do her parents have to pay this (or at least, can they get $100 back)? Shes a minor obviously, but no issue because its for necessity (shelter). Is his raising of the price unconscionable? Hotels raise prices for certain events and holidays all the time, but this is pretty different, especially since the rate for anyone else that night seemed to be $100. Doesn't seem to be a duress issue since he didn't really threaten her unless you can argue a "constructive threat" since she had no other option. Unconscionability due to the lack of meaningful choice seems okay too, but not great. What do you guys think?
I don't think there's a way to split off the extra $100. Courts don't look at the consideration as long as it isn't nominal, and unconscionability will just get the whole contract voided. I don't think it's substantively unconscionable since there's nothing inherently wrong about paying $200 for a hotel room. There might be an argument that it's procedurally unconscionable because of the relative bargaining power in the situation.
Duress has to come from affirmative actions by the defendant and the defendant didn't cause anything that led to her lack of choice.