« AnteriorContinuar »
manding the defendant to render a just account to the plaintiff, (*163] or shew the court good cause to the contrary. In this action,
the plaintiff succeeds, there are two judgments : the first is, that che defendant do account (quod computet) before auditors appointed by the court; and, when such amount is finished, then the second judgment is, that he do pay the plaintiff so much as he is found in arrear. This action, by the old common law (s), lay only against the parties themselves, and not their executors; because matters of account rested solely on their own knowledge. But this defect, after many fruitless attempts in parliament, was at last remedied by statute 4 Ann. c. 16. which gives an action of account against the executors and administrators (23).18 But however it is found by experience, that the most ready and effectual way to settle these matters of account is by bill in a court of equity, where a discovery may be had on the defendant's oath, without relying merely on the evidence which the plaintiff may be able to produce. Wherefore actions of account, to compel a man to bring in and settle his accounts, are now very seldom used ; though, when an account is once stated, nothing is more common than an action upon the implied assumpsit to pay the balance.
6. The last class of contracts, implied by reason and construction of law, arises upon this supposition, that every one who undertakes any office, employment, trust, or duty, contracts with those who employ or entrust him, to perform it with integrity, diligence, and skill. And, if by his want of either of those qualities any injury accrues to individuals, they have therefore their remedy in damages by a special action on the case. A few instances will fully illustrate this matter. If an officer of the public is guilty of neglect of duty, or a palpable breach of it, of non-feasance or of mis-feasance; as, if the sheriff does not execute a writ sent to hiin, or if he wilfully makes a false return thereof; in both these cases the party aggrieved shall have an action on the case, for damages to be assessed by a
jury (1). If a sheriff or gaoler suffers a prisoner, who is taken up[*164] on mesne process (that is, during the pendency of a suit), to es
cape, he is liable to an action on the case (u). But if, after judge ment, a gaoler or a sheriff permits a debtor to escape, who is charged in execution for a certain sum ; the debt immediately becomes his own, and he is compellable by action of debt, being for a sum liquidated and ascertained, to satisfy the creditor his whole demand : which doctrine is grounded (w) on the equity of the statute of Westm. 2. 13 Edw. I. c. 11, and i Ric. II. c. 12. An advocate or attorney that betray the cause of their client, or, being retained, neglect to appear at the trial, by which the cause uniscarries, are liable to an action on the case, for a reparation to their injured client (r). There is also in law always an implied contract with a common inn-keeper, to secure his guest's goods in his inn ; with a common carrier, or bargemaster, to be answerable for the goods he carries ; with a common farrier, that he shoes a horse well, without laming him; with a common taylor, or other workman, that he performs his business in a workmanlike manner; in which, if they fail, an action on the caso lies to recover damages for such breach of their general undertaking (p) But if l'employ a person to transact any of these concerns, whose coininon pro1) Co. Litt. 90.
(w) Bro. Abr. t. parliament, 19. 2 inst. 382. (1) Moor. 431. 11 Rep. 99.
(y) 11 Rep. 54. 1 Saund. 324.
(2) Finch. L. 183.
in) Cro Eliz. 625. Comb. 69.
fession and business it is not, the law implies no such general undertaking, but, in order to charge him with damages, a special agreement is required Also, if an inn-keeper, or other victualler, hangs out a sign and opens his house for travellers, it is an implied engagement to entertain all persons who travel that way; and upon this universal assumpsit an action on the case will lie against him for damages, if he without good reason refuses to admit a traveller (2). If any one cheats me with false cards or dice, or by false weights and measures, or by selling me one commodity for another, an action on the case also lies against him for damages, upon the contract which the law always implies, that every transaction is fair and honest (a).
In contracts likewise for sales, it is constantly understood that he seller undertakes that the commodity he sells is his own (24); (*165) and T it proves otherwise, an action on the case lies against him, to exact damages for this deceit. In contracts for provisions, it is always implied that they are wholesome; and if they be not, the same remedy may be had. Also if he, that selleth any thing, doth upon the sale warrant it to be good, the law annexes a tacit contract to his warranty, that if it be not so, he shall make compensation to the buyer : else it is an injury to
(a) 10 Kep. 56.
(2) 1 Vent. 333.
(24) As to warranties in general, see Bac. market. 4 Camp. 169. 5 Taunt. 108. As to Ab. Actions on the Case, E. A warranty on what is an express warranty, see 3 Chit. Com. the sale of a personal chattel, as w' the right Law, 305. Where a horse has been warranted thereto, is generally implied, ante, 2 ook. 451. sound, any infirmity rendering it unfit for im 3 ld. 166. 3 T. R. 57. Peake C. N. P. 94. mediate use, is an unsoundness. I Stark. 127. Cro. Jac. 474. I Rol. Ab. 90. | Salk. 210. The question of unsoundness is for the opinion Doug. 18; but not as to the right of real pro- of a jury. ? Taunt. 153. It is not necessary perty (Dougl. 654. 2 B. & P. 13. 3 B. & P. for the purchaser to return the horse, unless it 166.) if a regular conveyance has been exe. be expressly stipulated that he should do so, cuted. 6 T. R. 606. Nor is a warranty of 2 Hen. Bla: 573. 2 T. R. 745. If not so sti. soundness, goodness, or value of a horse, or pulated, an action for the breach of warranty other personally, implied, 3 Campb. 35l. 2 may be supported without returning the horse, East, 314.448. ante, 2 book, 451. And see fur. or even giving notice of the unsoundness, and ther, 2 Rol. Rep. 5. F. N. B. 94. acc. Wood- although the purchaser have re-sold the horse. des. 415. 3 Id. 199. cont.; and if a ship be 1 Hen. Bla. 17. IT R 136 2 T. R. 745. sold, with all faults, the vendor will not be But unless the horse be returned as soon as liable to an action in respect to latent defects she defect is discovered, or if the horse has which he knows of, unless he used some arti- been long worked, the purchaser cannot recofice to conceal them from the purchaser. 3 ver back the purchase money on the count for Camp. 154. 506. But if it is the usage of the money had and received, I T. R. 136. 5 East, trade to specify defects (as in case of sales of 449. '7 East, 274. 2 Camp. 410. 1 New. Rep. drugs, if they are sea damaged), and none are 260; and in all cases the vendee should object specified, an implied warranty arises, 4 Taunt. within a reasonable rime, 1 J. B. Moore, 166; 847; and a warranty may be implied from the and in these cases, or when the purchaser has production of a sample, in a parol sale by sam- doctored the horse, he has no defence to an ac. ple, 4 Camp. 22. 144. 169. 4 B. & A 387 3 tion by the vendor for the price, hut must proStark. 32. and see notes; and if the bulk of ceed in a cross action on the warranty, 1 T.R. the gonds do not correspond with the sample, 136. • East, 449. 7 Id. 274._ 2 Camp. 410. ! it wonld be a breach of the warranty. If the N R 260. 3 Esp. Rep 82. 4 Esp. Rep. 95; and contract describe the goods as of a particular in these cases, if the vendee has accepted a bill, denomination, there is an implied warranty, or given any other security, it should seem that they shall be of a merchantable quality of that the breach of warran!y is no desence to an the denomination mentioned in the contract. 4 action thereon, but he must proceed by cross Camp. 144. 3 Chit. Com. Law, 303. 1 Stark. action, 2 Taunt. 2. 1 Stark, 51. 3 Camp. 38.
4 Taunt 853. 5 B. & A. 240. In all 8. C. 14 East, 486. 3 Stark. 175; but it contracts for the sale of provisions, there is an would be otherwise is the rendee entirely reimplied contract that they shall be wholesome pudiated the contract, 2 Taun:. 2. as if he, in I Stark. 384. 2 Camp. 391. 3 Camp. 286. ihe first instance, on discovery of the breach An implied warranty arises in the sale of goods of warranty, returned or tendered back the where no opportunity of an inspection is given, horse. 2 Taunt. 2. and see 14 East, 484. 3 4 Camp. 144. 169. 6 Taunt. 108 ; and if goods Camph. 38. Peake's C. N. P. 38. For what are ordered to be manufactured, a stipulation damage defendant is liable in this action, seo that they shall be proper is implied, 4 Camp. 2 J B Moore, 106. 1446 Taunt 108, especially if for a foreign VOL. II
goud faith, for which an action on the case will lie to recover damages (6) The warranty must be upon the sale ; for if it be made after, and not at the time of the sale, it is a void warranty (c): for it is then made without any consideration ; neither does the buyer then take the goods upon the credit of the vendor. Also the warranty can only reach to things in being at the time of the warranty made, and not to things in futuro : as, that a horse is sound at the buying of him, not that he will be sound two years hence (25). But if the vendor knew the goods to be unsound, and hath used any art to disguise them (d), or if they are in any shape different from what he represents them to be to the buyer, this artifice shall be equivalent to an express warranty, and the vendor is answerable for their goodness. A general warranty will not extend to guard against defects that are plainly and ob. viously the object of one's senses, as if a horse be warranted perfect, and wants either a tail or an ear, unless the buyer in this case be blind. But if cloth is warranted to be of such a length, when it is not, there an action on the case lies for damages ; for that cannot be discerned by sight, but only by a collateral proof, the measuring it (e). Also if a horse is warranted sound, and he wants the sight of an eye, though this seems to be the object of one's senses, yet as the discernment of such defects is frequently matter of skill, it hath been held that an action on the case lieth recover damages for this imposition (f).
Besides the special action on the case, there is also a peculiar [*166] remedy, entitled an action of deceit (g),19to give damages in some
particular cases of fraud ; and principally where one man does any thing in the name of another, by which he is deceived or injured th); as if one brings an action in another's name, and then suffers a nonsuit, whereby the plaintiff becomes liable to costs : or where one obtains or suffers a fraudulent recovery20of lands, tenements, or chattels, to the prejudice of him that hath right. As when by collusion the attorney of the tenant makes default in a real action,2lor where the sheriff returns that the tenant was summoned when he was not so, and in either case he loses the land, the writ of deceit lies against the demandant, and also the attorney or the sheriff and his officers; to annul the former proceedings, and recover back the land (i) (26). It also lies in the cases of warranty before-mentioned, and other personal injuries committed contrary to good faith22 and honesty (k). But an action on the cuse, for damages, in nature of a writ of deceit, is more usually brought upon these occasions (?). And indeed it is the only (m) remedy for a lord of a manor, in or out of ancient demesne, to reverse a fine or recovery had in the king's courts of lands lying within his jurisdiction ; which would otherwise be thereby turned into frank fee. And this may be brought by the lord against the parties and cestuy que usa of such fine or recovery ; and thereby he shall obtain judgment not only
(0) F. N. B. 94.
(h) Law of nisi prius, 30.
(i) Booth, real actions, 251. Rast. Entr. 221, 222, See page 105.
(k) F. N. B. 98.
(25) There seems to be no reason or prin- the sentence in the text was cited, "there is ciple, why, upon a sufficient consideration, an po doubt but you may warrant a future event. express warranty that a horse should continue Doug. 735. sound for two years, should not be valid. (26) There seems to be no such action in Lord Mansfield declared, in a case in which New.York.
(19) See Il n. (19) end of Vol. B. III. (20) Ib. (20) B. III. (21) Ib. (21) B. III. (22) Ib (22) B IIL
for damages (which are usually remitted), but also to recover his court, and jurisdiction over the lands, and to annul the former proceedings (n).
"Thus much for the non-performance of contracts express or implied ; which includes every possible injury to what is by far the most considerable species of personal property ; viz. that which consists in action merely, and not in possession. Which finishes our inquiries into such wrongs as may be offered to personal property, with their several remedies by suit or action.
OF INJURIES TO REAL PROPERTY; AND FIRST OP DISPOSSESSION, OR OUSTER OF THE FREEHOLD (1).
I come now 10 consider such injuries as affect that species of property which the laws uf England have denominated real; as being of a more
(n) Rast. Entr. 100. 6. 3 Lev. 415. Lutw. 711. 749.
(1) "The different degrees of title which seised, so that if he fails to bring his writ of a person dispossessing another of his lands right within the time limited for the bringing acquires in ther, in the eye of the law (inde. of such writ, he is remediless, and the title of pendently of any anterior right), according to the dispossessor is complete. The original the length of time, and other circumstances writs by which droiturel actions are instituted, whict. intervene from the time such dispog. are called writs of right. The dilatorinens session is made, form different degrees of pre- and niceties in these processes introduced the sumption, in favour of the title of the dispos. writ of assize. The invention of this prosessor; and in proportion as that presumption ceeding is attributed to Glanville, chief justice increases, his title is strengthened; the modes to Henry II. (See Mr. Reeves's History of by which the possession may be recovered va- the English law, part I. ch. 3.) It was found ry; and more, or rather different proof is re. so convenient a remedy, that persons to avail quired from the person dispossessed, to esta themselves of it, frequently supposed or ad. blish his title to recover. Thus, if A. is dis- mitted themselves to be disseised by acts seised by B.; while the possession continues which did not, in strictness, amount to a disin B. it is a mere naked possession, unsupported seisin. This disseisin, being such only by the by any right: and A. may restore his own pos. will of the party, is called a disseisin by elecsession, and put a total end to the possession tion, in opposition to an actual disseisin; it is of B. by an entry on the lands, without any, only a disseisin as between the disseisor and previous action. But ir B. dies, the posses. disseisee, the dissejsee still continuing the sion descends on the heir by act of law. In freeholder, as to all persous but the disseisor. this case the beir comes to the land by a law. The old books, particularly the reports of as. ful title, and acquires in the eye of the law an size, when they mention disseisins, generally apparent right of possession, which is so far relate to isose cases where the owner admits good against the person disseised, that he has himself disseised. (See I Burr. 111. and see lost his right to recover the possession by en. Bruct. 1. b. 4. cap. 3.) As the processes upon try, and can only recover it by an action at law. writs of entry were superseded by the assize, The actions used in these cases are called pos. so the assize and all other real actions have seseory actions, and the original writs by which been since superseded by the modern process the proceedings upon them are institmed, are of ejectment
. This was introduced as a mode called writs of entry. But if A. permits the of trying titles to lands in the reign of Henry possession to be withheld from him beyond a VII. From the ease and expedition with certain period of time without claiming it, or which the proceedings in it are conducted, it suffers judgment in a possessory action to be is now become the general remedy in these given against him, by default or upon the me- cases. Booth, who wrote about the end of the rits; in all these cases B.'s title in the eye of last century, mentions real actions as then the law is strengthened, and A. can no longer worn out of use. It is rather singu.ar that recover by a possessory action, and his only this should be the fact, as many cases must retnedy then is by an action on the right. frequently have nccurred in which a writ of These last actions are called droiturel actions, ejectment was not a sufficient remedy. Withoin contradistinction to possessory actions. in these few years past, some attempts have They are the ultimate resort of the person dis- been made to revive real actions, and the mi
substantial and permanent nature, than those transitory rights of which personal chattels are the object.
Real injuries then, or injuries affecting real rights, are principally six : 1. Ous'er ; 2. Trespass ; 3. Nuisance; 4. Waste ; 5. Subtraction ; 6. Disturbance.
Duster, or dispossession, is a wrong or injury that carries with it the amotion of possession : for thereby the wrongdoer gets into the actual occupation of the land or hereditament, and obliges him that hath a right to seek his legal remedy, in order to gain possession, and damages for the injury sustained. And such ouster, or dispossession, may either be of the freehold, or of chattels real. Ouster of the freehold is effected by one of the following methods : 1*Abatement; 2. Intrusion ; 3. Disseisin : 4. Discontinuance ; 5. Deforcement. All of which in their order, and afterwards their respective remedies,23 will be considered in the present chapter.
1. And first, an abatement is where a person dies seised of an [*168] inheritance, and before the heir or devisee enters, a stranger who
has no right makes entry, and gets possession of the freehold this entry of him is called an abatement, and he himself is denominated an abator (a). It is to be observed that this expression, of abating, which is derived from the French, and signifies to quash, beat down, or destroy, is used by our law in three senses. The first, which seems to be the primi. cive sense, is that of abating or beating down a nuisance, of which we spoke in the beginning of this book (6); and in a like sense it is used in statute Westm. 1. 3 Edw I. c. 17. where mention is made of abating a castle or fortress ; in which case it clearly signifies to pull it down, and level it with the ground. The second signification of abatement is that of abating a writ or action, of which we shall say more hereafter : here it is taken figuratively, and signifies the overthrow or defeating of such writ, by some fatal exception to it. The last species of abatement is that we have now before us; which is also a figurative expression to denote that the rightful possession or freehold of the heir or devisee is overthrown by the rude intervention of a stranger (2).
This abatement of a freehold is somewhat similar to an immediate occupancy in a state of nature, which is effocted by taking possession of the land the same instant that the prior occupant by his death relinquishes it. But this, however agreeable to natural justice, considering man merely as an individual, is diametrically opposite to the law of society, and particularly the law of England : which, for the preservation of public peace, hath prohibited as far as possible all acquisitions by mere occupancy: and hath directed that lands, on the death of the present possessor, should immediately vest either in some person, expressly named and appointed by
(a) Finch. L. 195.
(6) Page 3
remarkable of these are the case of Tissen v. sir William Blackstone's commentary, which Clarke, reported in 3 Wils. 419. 541. and that treats upon real actions, is not the least valu of Carlos and Shuttleworth v. Lord Dormer. able part of that most excellent work. See The writ of summons in this last case is dited Co. Lit. 239. a. tole 1. In M. T. 1825, a writ the 1st day of December, 1775. The suin- of right stood for trial in the court of common mons to the four knights to proceed to the pleas, but the four knights suminoned for ihe election of the grand assize, is dated the 22d purpose not appearing, the case was adjourn. day of May, 1780. To this summons the she- ed io the next lerm. riff made his return, and there the matter rest. (2) As to abatement in general, see Com ed. The last instance in which a real action Dig. Abatement, A. Via. Ab. Disseisin, A. $ was used is the case of Sidney v. Perry. All Cru. Dig. I vol. 4. 2 id. 593. there were actions on the right. The part of
123) See Hwv. 11. (23) at the end of the Vol. B. IIL.