Bailey v. West (volunteer)
o West shipped racehorse back to owner, Strauss, after it arrived lame. When Strauss rejected it, driver called West’s trainer. He told the driver that the horse was not West’s and West would not pay anything for its care. The driver delivered the horse to Bailey who cared for it for months. The driver had informed Bailey that there was a dispute over ownership, therefore Bailey could not have reasonably expected to be compensated. No mutual agreement or misleading conduct between the parties. Not an “implied in fact” contract (nonverbal) because there was no intent/meeting of minds of the parties. Also, West sent first bill back to Bailey and said he would not be responsible for the horse’s stay. Where services are gratuitously rendered w/o being requested, the plaintiff is a mere volunteer and will normally be denied restitution for services.
o RULE: A PARTY WHO VOLUNTEERS HIS SERVICES TO ANOTHER IS NOT NORMALLY ENTITLED TO RESTITUTION FOR THEIR REASONABLE VALUE.
- A mere volunteer may recover in quasi-contract (implied in law) when the benefits are conferred by mistake and the defendant accepted them knowing of plaintiff’s error. The essential elements of a quasi contract (restitution/unjust enrichment) are:
o (1) a benefit conferred upon the defendant by plaintiff
o (2) appreciate by defendant of such benefit
o (3) an acceptance and retention by defendant of such benefit under such circumstances that it would be inequitable to retain the benefit without payment.
§ Ex: plaintiff was painting the wrong house by mistake, and defendant knew of this and continued to let him paint. Defendant will be estopped from denying existence of a K and will have to pay reasonable value of the services.
· based on the law of natural immutable justice and equity
Bailey v. West, 1969: P alleges that D is indebted to him for taking care of a horse that D had purchased from a 3rd party. the horse upon delivery to D was refused because it was "lame" and P took care of the horse on his farm, and says D owes him money for care of the horse.
i. contracts implied in fact have the same legal effect as express contracts- the only difference between them is the means by which the parties manifest their agreement, by the words, whether written or spoken. In an implied in fact K, the parties’ agreement is inferred in whole or part from their conduct. – an implied K must have discernible terms, that exhibit mutual expressions of agreement.
ii. The court finds that there was no intention by the parties because there was no mutual agreement.
iii. Quasi contract= K implied in law-à it’s a broad term dealing with unjust enrichment. It has no reference to the intentions or expressions of the parties- the obligation is imposed despite, and frequently in frustration of their intention. The obligation arises not from the consent of parties, but from the law of natural immutable justice and equity.
1. 3 essential elements of a quasi K: 1. Benefit conferred upon D by P, 2. Appreciation by D of such benefit and (freedom from K based on authonomy) 3. Acceptance and retention by D of such benefit. The court found that the P was a volunteer, and D didn’t accept the benefit.