Quantum Meruit Claims and What You Should Know!
Quantum Meruit means “as much as someone deserves.” It is a legal principle that borrows from the laws of Unjust Enrichment to compensate plaintiffs for their goods, services, or contributions that cannot be proven with/under a contract.
Quantum Meruit Claims and What You Should Know!
Suppose your business provides a service or product to another business without a contract, and then it happens that the other business fails to pay you. Because there is no contract and no conventional premises for you to seek compensation, quantum meruit can be invoked.
Quantum meruit claims arise in situations where the plaintiff is owed and:
· There is no formal written contract
· There is no specified compensation amount in the written contract
· He/she did more or supplied more goods than projected in the original contract
· The defendant paid less than what the plaintiff feels he/she deserved
What is Quantum Meruit in California?
The state of California is no stranger to quantum meruit court cases. California Civil Jury Instructions 371 lay down the requirements for these claims.
The legal principle translated in English means “as much as deserved.” In any of the earlier stated scenarios, the legal doctrine of quantum meruit is used to prove that your company provided the goods or services and deserves a “reasonable value” compensation.
Quantum meruit claims protect the service or product provider and ensure that the person or entity who received them is not unjustly enriched by their refusal to pay.
Much like the unpronounceable Latin-derived legal jargon, cases involving quantum meruit are often complex. You need the help of a well-practiced legal expert to fight for (plaintiff) or protect (defendant) your interests. Hess-Verdon attorneys can assist you with all types of quantum meruit claims. Call us for assistance.
Quantum meruit example
The most famous quantum meruit example in the US is Steven v Bromley & Son in 1919. The ship owners accepted a contractual fee for the shipment of steel billets, but the charterers also packed the ship with general merchandise and, consequently, breached the deal. The court ruled for the owners to be compensated more than nominal damages.
Quantum Meruit Claims and California Estates
Many estate litigation cases in California contain elements of unjust enrichment and quantum meruit. Like in business contracts, a will-maker of an estate can promise a party that in exchange for a favor, service, or goods, they will name in them in the will. If the promised party finds that they are not named in the will after the will-maker’s death, they can seek a just compensation by invoking quantum meruit.
The plaintiff can claim a deserved compensation if/because:
· They provided services or goods to the Will-maker
· The Will-maker benefited from their assistance or goods or services
· The plaintiff did not have legal obligations to provide those goods or services
· The will-maker did not name them in the will
· The will-maker bequeathed them fewer assets than promised or than they feel they deserved
Moving on, unjust enrichment is a principle under the laws of equity. A person is unjustly enriched when he/she benefits at the expense of another in a manner that the law deems unfair. In unjust enrichment claims, the law obligates that the recipient (defendant) makes restitution to the affected party.
Quantum meruit vs. unjust enrichment
The legal principles of unjust enrichment and quantum meruit have many things in common. In both cases, the plaintiff offers goods, assistance, or services without or outside the scope of a formal contract. In both cases, the law provides that they be compensated a fair market value amount for those goods or services.
However, there are a few differences between quantum meruit and unjust enrichment. Let’s draw the line:
· The courts interpret this as “contract implied in fact.”
· This is used to pursue compensation for goods/ services offered under an “implied contract.”
· Damages in quantum meruit are measured by the value of the services the plaintiff provided to the defendant
· There is no contractual relationship, real or implied
· This is used to recover compensation on the grounds of fairness and justice and the principles of equity
· Damages in Unjust Enrichment claims are measured by the benefits the defendant realized at the expense of the plaintiff
· Unjust enrichment can happen with no wrongdoing on the part of the defendant
Getting expert legal help
From business dealings to estate planning matters, you need an experienced lawyer to look out for your interests. Our business and estate planning attorneys have handled many quantum meruit claims with positive outcomes for clients.
Contact Hess-Verdon at (949) 706-7300.
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