Howard E. Bailey v. Richard E. West


  • Four months, awarded for horse care-taking. Not excessive. Seems about right. Even though it was taken care of for four years.
  • Bought race horse, turned out to be lame. Dumped the horse on the plaintiff’s farm.
  • Defendant told Kelly to dumps it.
  • Sends out bills to both the defendant and the person who sold the horse.
  • No prior business dealings.
  • Expenses for taking care of the horse for four years.
  • Returned the lame horse to plaintiff’s farm where it was kept for five months.
  • Def, immediately returned plaintiff’s bills saying it wasn’t his horse…nor was it sent under his request.
  • Trial court judge stated, it was “implied in fact between the plaintiff and defendant to board the horse”….implication that the plaintiff had to take care of the horse. Judge awarded plaintiff, plus one additional month for reasonable disposition of property.
  • “Implied in fact contracts” is the issue here. “when the intention of the parties is not expressed, but an agreement IN FACT, creating an obligation, is implied or presumed from their acts, or, as it has been otherwise stated, where there are circumstances, according to ordinary course of dealing and the common understanding of men, show a mutual intent to contract.
  • Contain all elements of a regular contract, ‘dependent on mutual agreement or consent, and on the intention of the parties: and a meeting of the minds required.
  • Implied in fact MUST be inferred from the facts where there is consent…facts need to be consistent with existence.
  • Essential elements are mutual agreement and intent to promisebut must be IMPLIED from FACTS.
  • Trainer didn’t know who to send the bills to….
  • Never had any previous business with trainer.

Procedural History

  • Tried in superior court w/o jury resulted in decision for plaintiff (defendants cross appeal).
  • Supreme Court of Rhode Island. The Supreme Court over-turned the hearing, and gave the plaintiff zero.


  • Contract was looked at from implied in law vs. implied in fact which is what an implied contract is.
  • Was there a mutual agreement and intent to promise, base upon the FACTS?


  • NO.


  • Implied contracts need to be implied from FACT and have mutual agreement and intent to promise (contract).
  • Reasoning
  • Trial court erred because there was misconceived material evidence which establishes beyond question that there never existed between the parties an element essential to the formulation of any true contract, namely, “Intent to contract.”
  • The fact that the plaintiff sent bills to both, the seller and the defendant showed that there was NO implied contract. No mutual agreement. Don’t know who the deal is with?


Plaintiff’s appeal is denied.  Defendant’s cross-appeal is sustained. Cause is remanded to the superior court for judgment.


Quasi Contracts has no reference to the intentions or expressions of the parties. Even in this case, there was NO quasi contract.  Unsupported by competent evidence and is erroneous.

Essential elements: benefit conferred by the defendant. It would be impossible to retain the benefit without payment of the value, thereof.

  • Inequitable and un-just, some benefit was conferred but it was unjust.
  • Don’t need a deal. No deal needs to be made. Courts don’t care about this.
  • 4 years is rather un-reasonable for taking care of a horse w/o knowing.

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