Day v. Caton case brief summary
119 Mass. 513 (1876)
Defendant owner of lot 27 sought review
of the decision of the Suffolk Superior Court (Massachusetts), which
granted judgment in favor of plaintiff owner of lot 29 in the action
of the owner of lot 29 to recover the value of one half of a brick
party wall that the owner of lot 29 built between the two lots.
CASE FACTS The owner of lot 29 built a party wall
on the property line with lot 27. The owner of lot 29 alleged that
the owner of lot 27 agreed to pay one half the value when he used it
for his own building. The owner of lot 27 denied this agreement. The
owner of lot 29 brought an action against the owner of lot 27 to
recover half of the value of the wall. The judge instructed the jury
that it could infer a promise to pay part of the value of the wall if
the party knew that the other party expected payment and allowed him
to act without objecting. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the
owner of lot 29.
On the appeal of the owner of lot 27, the court
overruled the exceptions and affirmed the decision of the trial
The court determined that silence in the face of the actions
of another party rendering services which were valuable to the silent
party may be evidence of an acceptance and an agreement to pay for
it, that the trial judge properly instructed the jury, and that the
issue of the inference of acceptance was properly an issue for the
The court affirmed the decision of the trial court, overruling the
exceptions to the judge's instructions to the jury about inferring a
promise to pay and a completed contract by the silence of the owner
of lot 27 in face of the actions of the owner of lot 29. The court
held that there was an inferred agreement on the part of the owner of
lot 27 to pay for the wall. Suggested law school course materials, hornbooks, and guides for Contract Law
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