Monday, December 4, 2017

Word of the Month for December 2017: Common Counts

Pleading and Pleadings are not the same
Recently, I have noticed a rash of lawsuits by corporations who issue credit cards.  Most all of these actions are pled under the common count claim of money had and received. Wait, before we get too deep into this, what is a "common count, anyway?" According to Black's Law Dictionary, COMMON COUNTS means:
In a plaintiff's pleading, in an action for debt. Boilerplate language that is not founded on the circumstances of an individual case but is intended to guard against a possible variance and to enable the plaintiff to take advantage of any ground of liability that the proof may disclose.  In the action for indebtiatus assumpsit, the common count states that the defendant had failed to pay a debt as promised.
The thing is that as far as COMMON COUNTS go, there are five separate COMMON COUNTS. They are:
  1. For money had and received (popular with credit card companies)
  2. For work, labor, services, and materials rendered and requested by defendant (works like a mechanics' lien)
  3. For goods and merchandise sold and delivered to defendant for which defendant promised to pay plaintiff
  4. For money lent by the plaintiff to defendant at defendant's request (i.e. not a gift)
  5. For money paid, laid out, and expended for defendant at defendant's request (similar to a novation)
Our story today revolves around the 4th one: for money lent by the plaintiff to defendant at defendant's request.  See, once upon a time, an older man came into our law library. Seems older man had a sizable sum of money to his son-in-law at the behest of son-in-law and his deadbeat daughter. 

NOTE: that's LENT as in it was not a gift.  Older man, much to the chagrin of deadbeat daughter, had son-in-law sign on the dotted line that he would repay the full sum by a date certain. Son-in-law failed to pay by that date and, again against deadbeat daughter's wishes, Older man came to the law library seeking help as to what he could do to recover his monies LENT.

Thing is, Older man was right to come to the law library instead of pecking around the Internet trying to find something to help him because in less time than it took me to write this sentence, I was able to lead Older man over to

and off Older man went plotting his revenge,...uh, I mean case.  

Yep, we've got a whole lot of stuff on our law library shelves to help give you peace of mind (or nightmares, as the case may be).  Why not head on over to your local county law library and see what it can do for you?