is there a difference between restitution and quantum meruit

(Study Tips, Dealing With Stress, Maintaining a Social Life, Financial Aid, Internships, Bar Exam, Careers in Law . . . )
Posts: 65
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:07 pm

is there a difference between restitution and quantum meruit

Postby RR320 » Sun May 13, 2012 12:47 am

confused about this...

User avatar
AZN MegaPoaster
Posts: 83
Joined: Sat May 12, 2012 4:17 pm

Re: is there a difference between restitution and quantum meruit

Postby AZN MegaPoaster » Sun May 13, 2012 12:53 am

There is quantum meruit and quantum valebat. Quantum meruit is when someone sues for monetary relief. Quantum valebat is when someone sues to retrieve an item they lost. They are both restitutionary suits, though. The former will usually be for a service, whereas the latter will be for a moveable good.

PS: I think this is all correct. I took contractss last semester

Posts: 69
Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:01 pm

Re: is there a difference between restitution and quantum meruit

Postby nleefer » Sun May 13, 2012 10:32 am

Quantum meruit (generally speaking the market value of services) is one measure of restitutionary relief. Other forms of restitution may be value gained by defendant or even disgorgement of profits.

Said another way: restitution is a remedy for the cause of action of unjust enrichment, while quantum meruit is one way to value or calculate that remedy.

User avatar
Posts: 247
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:14 pm

Re: is there a difference between restitution and quantum meruit

Postby masochist » Sun May 13, 2012 11:28 am

I am 95% in agreement with the two other posters, but I think there is a tiny distinction these two explanations gloss over (which is almost certain to be irrelevant for a test).

My understanding is that quantum meruit and unjust enrichment are both causes of action and remedies, and the distinction between the two resulted from the traditional division between courts of equity and courts of law. Traditionally, contracts were exclusively adjudicated by courts of law, and QM was a legal cause of action. As such, QM granted the party seeking compensation the value of the work performed as if this value had been promised to him or her in a contract. Thus, QM almost worked as a gap filler when some deficiency made implied or expressed contract terms inapplicable. Unjust enrichment was a cause of action in equity; like all equitable remedies, it applied only when there was no sufficient remedy available in a court of law. If there was a contract (even an implied contract) a party had to sue in a court of law. As a result, unjust enrichment was a cause of action available only when there was neither an expressed nor an implied contract. Since there was no contract, no contract terms could be enforced. Without contract terms to enforce regarding payment for the work performed, the damage calculation for unjust enrichment had to rely upon the value conferred as a means of restoring the balance of equities.

The distinction between the two causes of action has been largely erased now that courts of equity and law are merged, but the traditional distinction still affects the calculation of restitution remedies. Most notably, courts still tend to award restitution based upon disgorgement of value only when QM is not available or is insufficient to compensate the party seeking the remedy.

Return to “Forum for Law School Students”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests