Legal Blogs

What is Quantum Meruit in California?

This article helps to define and describe the legal doctrine of quantum meruit. Business Litigation attorneys provides assistance in situations where a company claims it is owed payment for services rendered or products provided. In some cases, a company will provide a product or service and will not be paid for it. If there was a contract that guaranteed a set amount of payment, the company which provided the product or service could sue for breach of contract and demand the designated amount. Under certain circumstances, however, the services or product may have been provided without a formal written contract or specification of payment amount, but still provided under circumstances where payment was clearly anticipated. What is Quantum Meruit in California?

When this occurs, a legal doctrine of quantum meruit could be used to prove to the court that the company that provided the product or the service is owed compensation for the reasonable value of services performed. Quantum meruit protects the provider of the product or service and ensures that the party who received the items or assistance is not unjustly enriched due to a refusal to pay.

Legal cases arising out of the legal doctrine of quantum meruit can be complicated, and it is important for both the party seeking payment and the party being asked to pay to have a legal advocate protecting their interests. An Irvine business litigation attorney at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can help, as our legal team knows the complex rules surrounding quantum meruit inside and out. Give us a call to find out the ways in which we can assist you in understanding how this doctrine applies to your case and in making an appropriate argument to receive compensation.

What is Quantum Meruit?

Quantum meruit is a Latin phrase that means “as much as deserved.” The phrase, in legal terms, refers to a method of determining how much should be paid for products delivered or services rendered when there is no contract or agreement in place specifying an appropriate payment amount.

For example, if a company was asked to deliver 100 widgets and it was understood it would be paid for the delivery but there was no written agreement or agreed payment amount, the company would still be entitled to compensation for the 100 widgets it provided. The recipient of the widgets would not be able to escape providing compensation once they had accepted the widgets ordered, even if there was no specific contract specifying when or how much would be paid.

If the deliverer of the widgets was not paid a reasonable market value for the accepted widgets upon sending a bill after delivery, the company which delivered the widgets could initiate a civil action and could recover reasonable compensation for the widgets under the legal doctrine of quantum meruit.

How Does the Legal Doctrine of Quantum Meruit Work?

California Civil Jury Instructions 371 explain what must happen for a plaintiff to establish a claim for compensation for goods or services which were provided but which were not paid for. According to the legal doctrine of quantum meruit which is defined within this jury instruction, and within California law, a plaintiff making a case arising out of quantum meruit has to prove all of the following:

  • The defendant the plaintiff is seeking payment from requested that the plaintiff perform some kind of service or deliver some kind of products or goods. According to a 2004 case, Ochs v. PacifiCare of California, the plaintiff can show the request for goods or services was either expressly stated or implied by the actions of the defendant.
  • The plaintiff complied with the express or implied request. The products or goods were actually delivered or the service which was requested was actually provided.
  • The defendant has not paid for the products or services.

The plaintiff also must demonstrate what the reasonable value of goods and services was, in order for the court to know how much the defendant should pay.

Getting Help from An Orange County Business Litigation Attorney

Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide assistance with making a claim arising from the legal doctrine of quantum meruit. We help companies to demonstrate that they should be entitled to an appropriate amount of payment because they delivered a product or a service that was requested. We also provide assistance in demonstrating the value of the product or service so appropriate compensation can be obtained.

To find out more about the ways in which an Irvine business litigation attorney can help your company to protect its interests, including its interest in getting paid for all work performed, give us a call at 714-505-3000 or contact us online today.