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Bailey v. West

Melissa A. Hale

ProfessorMelissa A. Hale

CaseCast "What you need to know"

CaseCast –  "What you need to know"

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Bailey v. West
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    Brief Fact Summary. West (Defendant) bought race horse, “Bascom’s Folly”, which ended up being lame. When return of the horse was rejected by the seller, it was shipped to the farm of Bailey (Plaintiff) where it remained. Plaintiff sent Defendant bills for feed and board of the horse. Defendant refused payment saying he was not the owner of the horse.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. There was no mutual agreement or intent to contract between the Plaintiff and Defendant to establish a contract. Thus, there is no contract “implied in fact”.

    Facts. Defendant bought a race horse, “Bascom’s Folly”, which ended up being lame. When return of the horse was rejected by the seller, Defendant shipped the horse to Plaintiff’s farm where it remained. Plaintiff was aware there was a dispute as to ownership of the horse. Plaintiff sent bills for feed and board of the horse to the Defendant. Defendant refused payment saying he was not the owner of the horse. The trial court entered judgment for the Plaintiff.

    Issue. Was the obligation of the Plaintiff to feed and board the horse a result of a contract “implied in fact”?
    Was a quasi contract formed by Plaintiff acting as a volunteer when he accepted the horse for boarding?

    Held. No. Reversed.
    There was no mutual agreement or “intent to promise” to establish a contract implied in fact. Therefore, Defendant is not obliged to pay Plaintiff for the maintenance of his horse. Defendant had knowledge of a dispute of ownership so he could not expect to have formed a contract with anyone for his boarding and feed of the horse.
    No, a quasi contract is not formed where performance rendered by one person is not requested by the other.

    Discussion. There must be mutual intent by both parties in order to form a contract “implied in fact.” Both parties must be clear on with whom they are contracting with.


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