Quasi contract comes into play in the absence of a formal contrast between two or more parties. It aims to prevent enrichment when one party can gain at the expense of the other party. Additionally, it is known as recovery tries to arrive at an equitable remedy which prevents one party from being unjustly enriched (Emmanuel, 2006).
This informal law requires that the party which benefits unjustly from the services or goods from another party pays a reasonable value to cover for benefits. This way equity is achieved between both parties.
The law as a general rule requires the claimant to fulfill some conditions for recovery to be granted. First, the claimant must show that a benefit was rendered to the other party. For example, in Schott v.Westinghouse Electric Corporation the company promised to pay employees rewards for any improvement ideas submitted. However, upon receipt the company uses the ideas thus gaining benefits but refuses to pay. The agreement between the company and its employees can be termed as quasi-contrast and the employees should be paid for all the four conditions as demonstrated in a court. Consequently, the claimant must also show that he intended/expected to be paid for the conferred benefit. The conferring party must prove that the benefit was not out of voluntary contribution of goods and services (Calamari et al. 1999). This means if one volunteer to work for free but in the end claims payment, the case should be dismissed. Finally, it must be proved that the party who retains the benefit without paying is likely to be unjustly enriched thus conferring party ends up losing.
The quasi-contract law is employed in one case or another across states in the US. I researched on sample cases in four different states; Alabama, California, Alaska and New York and found that the way the quasi-contract law is applied in these states is different and similar in certain aspects.
In these states, the general rule of foresee-ability wills apply in determining a quasi-contract recovery case. For example in the case of Hardley v.Baxenable which was tried in Alaska (Emmanuel, 2006). In this case P was claiming recovery for loss incurred when D delayed the delivery of his mill shaft. The court held that D could not pay for the loss since he did not foresee that the mill will be closed down because of the shaft. It was argue that when P ordered for the shaft he did not notify D on the fact that the broken shaft could cause the mill to be closed down. This rule which is common across the four states can only award benefits if the parties breach falls into two categories; the foreseen damages arise naturally thus the defendant was supposed to foresee them even if the opposite was true. Secondly, if the foreseen damages were remote or unusual and the defendant was given notice of the unusual consequences, the recovery can be granted (Emmanuel, 2006).