Quasi-Contract

Quasi-Contract refers to a certain type of an agreement that has the form of a Contract but is somewhat different in some way. For example, certain writers may classify a Recognizance as a type of quasi-contract.

Additional Sources

Answers.com

Obligation created by law for reasons of justice and fairness. The doctrine of quasi contract is based upon the principle that a party must pay for a benefit he desired and received under circumstances that render it inequitable for him to retain it without making compensation. For example, a car owner brings his car in for brake repairs. The mechanic fixes the brakes and in doing so he also fixes a separate part of the axle that has a direct relationship to the car's ability to brake correctly. Although the axle repair was not specifically contracted for, a quasi contract is implied for which the owner must pay the mechanic.

FindLaw

An obligation that is not created by a contract but that is imposed by law to prevent the unjust enrichment of one party from the acts of another party.

Law.com Dictionary

n. a situation in which there is an obligation as if there was a contract, although the technical requirements of a contract have not been fulfilled.

Lect Law Library

QUASI-CONTRACT - A term used in the civil law. A quasi-contract is the act of a person, permitted by law, by which he obligates himself towards another, or by which another binds himself to him, without any agreement between them.

By the Civil Code of Louisiana, quasi-contracts are defined to be "the lawful and purely voluntary acts of a man, from which there results any obligation whatever to a third person, and sometime a reciprocal obligation between the parties." In contracts, it is the consent of the contracting parties which produces the obligation; in quasi-contracts no consent is required, and the obligation arises from the law or natural equity, on the facts of the case. These acts are called quasi-contracts, because, without being contracts, they bind the parties as contracts do.

Quasi-contracts may be multiplied almost to infinity. They are, however, divided into five classes: such "relate to the voluntary and spontaneous management of the affairs of another, without authority; the administration of tutorship; the management of common property; the acquisition of an inheritance; and the payment of a sum of money or other thing by mistake, when nothing was due.

The Free (Legal) Dictionary

An obligation that the law creates in the absence of an agreement between the parties. It is invoked by the courts where Unjust Enrichment, which occurs when a person retains money or benefits that in all fairness belong to another, would exist without judicial relief.

A quasi contract is a contract that exists by order of a court, not by agreement of the parties. Courts create quasi contracts to avoid the unjust enrichment of a party in a dispute over payment for a good or service. In some cases a party who has suffered a loss in a business relationship may not be able to recover for the loss without evidence of a contract or some legally recognized agreement. To avoid this unjust result, courts create a fictitious agreement where no legally enforceable agreement exists.

To illustrate, assume that a homebuilder has built a house on Alicia's property. However, the homebuilder signed a contract with Bobby, who claimed to be Alicia's agent but, in fact, was not. Although there is no binding contract between Alicia and the homebuilder, most courts would allow the homebuilder to recover the cost of the services and materials from Alicia to avoid an unjust result. A court would accomplish this by creating a fictitious agreement between the homebuilder and Alicia and holding Alicia responsible for the cost of the builder's services and materials.

Quasi contracts sometimes are called implied-in-law contracts to distinguish them from implied-in-fact contracts. An implied-in-law contract is one that at least one of the parties did not intend to create but that should, in all fairness, be created by a court. An implied-in-fact contract is simply an unwritten, nonexplicit contract that courts treat as an express written contract because the words and actions of the parties reflect a consensual transaction. The difference is subtle but not without practical effect.

Wikipedia

A quasi-contract, also called an implied-in-law contract, is a legal substitute for a contract. A quasi-contract is a contract that should have been formed, even though in actuality it was not. It is used when a court wishes to create an obligation upon a non-contracting party to avoid injustice and to ensure fairness. It is invoked in circumstances of unjust enrichment.

Generally an actual or implied-in-fact contract is required for the defendant to be liable for services rendered, and a person who provides a service uninvited is an officious intermeddler who is not entitled to compensation. "Would-be plaintiffs cannot deliver unordered goods or services and demand payment for the benefit...A corollary is that one who does have an enforceable contract is bound by the contract's terms: subject to a few controversial exceptions, she cannot sue for restitution of the value of benefits conferred..." However, in many jurisdictions under certain circumstances plaintiffs may be entitled to restitution under quasi-contract (as with the example of Oklahoma below).

Quasi-contracts are defined to be "the lawful and purely voluntary acts of a man, from which there results any obligation whatever to a third person, and sometime a reciprocal obligation between the parties." It "is not legitimately done, but the terms are accepted and followed as if there is a legitimate contract.