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What is quantum meruit?  

Quantum meruit is a legal doctrine created to impose liability without an enforceable contract. More specifically, quantum meruit allows a plaintiff to recover the reasonable value of services rendered. Quantum meruit actions result from implied contracts, or contracts implied in fact by courts to bring about justice and equity. A contract implied in fact is based on an implicit promise or inferred from the parties’ conduct. A quantum meruit action is distinguishable from an action for unjust enrichment based on a contract implied in law. It is important to remember that a plaintiff cannot pursue a quantum meruit claim if a relevant express contract exists. Still, an action may be possible for additional work beyond the contract’s scope. 

Need help with a quantum meruit? Schedule your consultation today with a top business litigation attorney.  

What legal issues typically arise related to quantum meruit?  

The following disputes are among the most common to quantum meruit:  

  • A contractor performs work for a homeowner without a written agreement but cannot collect payment when the homeowner refuses to pay.  
  • An architect provides requested design services to a developer beyond the scope of their original agreement, but the developer refuses to pay for those services. The architect could recover the reasonable value of the services provided under a quantum meruit claim. 
  • A medical provider provides voluntary treatment to a patient who refuses to pay for the services afterward. 

What are relevant laws related to quantum meruit in Florida? 

Case law created by Florida courts governs quantum meruit actions. This case law has established what must be proven by the plaintiff, what defenses are available to the defendant, and what remedies are available. For example, in Brooks v. Holsombach, the court reiterated the rule that the measure of damages for the breach of a construction contract is either quantum meruit or the contractor’s lost profit, together with the reasonable labor cost and materials incurred in good. 525 So. 2d 910, 911 (Fla. 4th DCA 1988). The completion percentage of work is not the proper method to prove damages for breach of a construction contract. Id.  

What is required to prove a case of quantum meruit in Florida? 

The elements of an action for quantum meruit are:  

  • Provision of a benefit: The plaintiff provided, and the defendant assented to and received, a benefit in the form of goods or services; and where  
  • Reasonable expectation of payment: In the ordinary course of everyday events, a reasonable person receiving such a benefit would typically expect to pay for it.  

When a set of facts is appropriate to meet the requirements of quantum meruit, there are many paths a claimant may take. We are value-based attorneys at Jimerson Birr, which means we look at each action with our clients from the point of view of costs and benefits while reducing liability. Then, based on our client’s objectives, we chart a path forward to seek appropriate restitution. 

To see what actions may be available for your unique situation, please contact our office to set up your initial consultation. 

What are common defenses to quantum meruit in Florida? 

The primary defenses to quantum meruit in Florida include:  

  • Defendant’s assent: The defendant may claim they did not assent to the plaintiff’s services. 
  • Damages: The defendant may argue that the plaintiff has not provided sufficient evidence to establish the damages sought. 
  • Statute of limitations: The defendant could contend that the statute of limitations, typically four years from the date the provided services are complete, bars the plaintiff’s claim.  

When defending against a quantum meruit claim in Florida, one core strategy is to focus on disproving the element of assent by providing evidence that the defendant was unaware that the plaintiff provided a service or that the defendant attempted to refuse the service.  

To see what defenses may be available for your unique situation, please contact our office to set up your initial consultation. 

Have more questions about a quantum meruit-related situation?  

Crucially, this overview of quantum meruit does not begin to cover all the laws implicated by this issue or the factors that may compel the application of such laws. Every case is unique, and the laws can produce different outcomes depending on the individual circumstances. 

Jimerson Birr attorneys guide our clients to help make informed decisions while ensuring their rights are respected and protected. Our lawyers are highly trained and experienced in the nuances of the law, so they can accurately interpret statutes and case law and holistically prepare individuals or companies for their legal endeavors. Through this intense personal investment and advocacy, our lawyers will help resolve the issue’s complicated legal problems efficiently and effectively. 

Having a Jimerson Birr attorney on your side means securing a team of seasoned, multi-dimensional, cross-functional legal professionals. Whether it is a transaction, an operational issue, a regulatory challenge, or a contested legal predicament that may require court intervention, we remain a tireless advocate every step of the way. Being a value-added law firm means putting the client at the forefront of everything we do. We use our experience to help our clients navigate even the most complex problems and come out the other side triumphant. 

If you want to understand your case, the merits of your claim or defense, potential monetary awards, or the amount of exposure you face, you should speak with a qualified Jimerson Birr lawyer. Our experienced team of attorneys is here to help. Call Jimerson Birr at (904) 389-0050 or use the contact form to set up a consultation. 

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