Day v. Caton Case Brief

Summary of Day v. Caton
S. Ct. Massachusetts, 1876

Facts: Pl, Day, built a wall between two adjacent estates in Boston. Pl and Df each had interest in the respective properties. PL contended that Df agreed to pay for half of the value, Df denies the claim.

Issue: Whether the silence of a party seeing services rendered upon his land can be construed as assent, and thereby a contract issue forth?

Holding: Yes

Procedure: Jury trial for PL. DF objects. Affirmed.

Rule: When a person stands in silence and sees valuable services rendered upon his real estate, such silence, accompanied with the knowledge on his part that the party rendering the services expects payment is evidence of an acceptance of an agreement to pay for it.

Ct. Rationale: The Df having reason to know that the Pl was erecting said wall knowing PL expected payment, for ½ the value, for the same, by the DF, allowed him to act without objection. The jury properly determined that the Df saw the labor of work upon his property, knowing that the PL would expect payment, failed to object to the continued construction.

PL A: Df had knowledge and expressly agreed to sharing the cost of erecting the wall upon completion, and did not object.

Def A: Df never agreed to payment for the wall, as the PL never approached Df with an offer.

Qui tacit consentire videtur – He who is silent is supposed to consent.

Implied in fact – conduct of the party’s intentions.

Implied in law – ct forces upon parties to avoid unjust enrichment.

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