Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Elements of Quantum Meruit Claim (alternative to breach-of-contract cause of action for services rendered)

QUANTUM MERUIT CLAIM: NOTICE OF EXPECTATION OF PAYMENT AS ONE ELEMENT Quantum meruit is an equitable remedy that does not arise out of a contract, but is independent of it. Vortt Exploration Co. v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 787 S.W.2d 942, 944 (Tex. 1990). WHAT TYPE OF LEGAL THEORY IS QUANTUM MERUIT? Quantum meruit is an equitable theory of recovery founded in the principle of unjust enrichment. Vortt Exploration Co. v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 787 S.W.2d 942, 944 (Tex. 1990). CONTRACT AND QUANTUM MERUIT INCOMPATIBLE - MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE REMEDIES - EXPRESS CONTRACT DEFENSE Generally, a party may recover under quantum meruit only when there is no valid express contract covering the services or materials furnished. Id.; see also Woodard v. Sw. States, Inc., 384 S.W.2d 674, 675 (Tex. 1964) (“Where there exists a valid express contract covering the subject matter, there can be no implied contract.”). ELEMENTS OF QUANTUM MERUIT CLAIM UNDER TEXAS COMMON LAW “To recover under the doctrine of quantum meruit, a plaintiff must establish that: 1) valuable services and/or materials were furnished, 2) to the party sought to be charged, 3) which were accepted by the party sought to be charged, and 4) under such circumstances as reasonably notified the recipient that the plaintiff, in performing, expected to be paid by the recipient.” Heldenfels Bros. v. City of Corpus Christi, 832 S.W.2d 39, 41 (Tex. 1992); Vortt Exploration Co., 787 S.W.2d at 944; Speck v. First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Houston, 235 S.W.3d 811, 815 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2007, no pet.). SOURCE: Doyle v. Heilman, 01-09-00164-CV (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Mar. 11, 2010) (judgment on quantum meruit claim for personal care services reversed, essential element of notice that Plaintiff expected to be paid for services rendered not shown, not satisfied)