Quantum meruit in New Jersey is a legal doctrine that relates to the value of services provided. Specifically, it refers to the fair value of services rendered when an agreement is breached or otherwise fails before completion.
This doctrine is important for business owners, lawyers, and other professionals who may provide services without a binding contract in place.
What Is Quantum Meruit in New Jersey?
Quantum meruit is Latin for “what one has earned.” It is an equitable remedy that holds that the person who has provided a service should be fairly compensated for their work. This arises where there is no written contract or the contract is silent on the value of services or products one party provides the other.
In addition, this doctrine applies when there is an implied contract, also known as a quasi-contract, present.
An implied contract arises when two parties agree on certain terms but have not put those agreements into writing. For example, let’s say a homeowner hires you to do yard work on his property. He agrees to pay you $20 per hour for your services. But you and the property owner never sign a written agreement. Notwithstanding that, the quantum meruit legal doctrine can protect you and get you paid for your services.
Quantum Meruit in New Jersey
To succeed on a claim for quantum meruit in New Jersey, a litigant must plead “(1) the performance of services in good faith; (2) the acceptance of the services by the person to whom they are rendered; (3) an expectation of compensation therefore; and (4) the reasonable value of the services.” Starkey v. Estate of Nicolaysen, 172 N.J. 60, 68 (2002).
If all of these elements are present, then the court may award damages based on what would have been owed had there been a valid contract between the parties.
Additionally, courts often refer to “the reasonable value rule” when calculating the value of a quantum meruit claim. Under this rule, claimants can recover damages based on what a reasonable person would consider a fair price for similar work done under similar circumstances.
Courts will apply this rule even if the “reasonable value” differs from the agreed-upon pricing between the parties before an alleged breached occurred.
Quantum meruit in New Jersey is an important legal doctrine. It can protect both consumers and businesses from being taken advantage of in the absence of a contract between the parties.
Therefore, it is important for businesses and professionals who provide services without contracts in place to understand their rights under this law and the amount that can be recoverable before a Court of law.
Experienced New Jersey Quantum Meruit Lawyers
If a client or customer is balking at paying for your services or product, and you don’t have a written contract or agreement, you may need the help of a New Jersey business litigation attorney that is familiar with quantum meruit.
The contract attorneys at Schiller, Pittenger & Gaffney, P.C., can help.
Contact the experienced New Jersey contract attorneys at Schiller, Pittenger & Gaffney, P.C., at their Scotch Plains office at 908-490-0444. You can also email them here.