“It is the nature of men to be bound by the benefits they confer as much as by those they receive.”

When a person is employed in the services of another for any period of time, the law implies a promise to pay what the ser­vices are reasonably worth. The name for this legal theory is quantum meruit. It applies in cases where there is no express contract between the parties.

A person is entitled to recover the reasonable value of the services rendered by him, unless it was understood by the parties that the services were being rendered free of charge, or unless it was not unfair for the party receiving the benefit of the services to not pay for them. Two illustrations:

Illustration #1: Two neighbors agree to share the cost of con­structing a block wall on their common property line. One neighbor, who happens to be a mason, builds the wall and the two neighbors equally share the cost of the work. The wall is later severely damaged when a tree falls on it during a storm. The mason, with his neighbor’s knowledge, proceeds to repair the wall. Under these circumstances, it would be unfair to allow the one neighbor to retain the benefit of the work without paying for it. He will be required to pay for his share of the work.

Illustration #2: One neighbor, while another neighbor is away, washes a car left in the absent neighbor’s driveway. It rains before the neighbor returns home. Under these circum­stances, no payment for the voluntary car wash is required.

In awarding a person the reasonable value of his services under this legal theory, the nature of the services provided and the customary rate of pay for the services will be consid­ered. The award will include the value of both labor and mate­rials furnished.

The above article is an excerpt from Arizona Laws 101: A Handbook for Non-Lawyers, 2nd Edition (Fenestra Books, 2012), by Donald A. Loose, republished with the author’s permission. 

Disclaimer: Laws change constantly. Specific legal advice should be obtained regarding any legal matter. The information contained on this website does not constitute legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is created. 

Have any questions about this topic?
We’re ready to listen.

Related Content

What is Arizona’s Homestead Exemption?

A homestead means a dwelling in which a person resides. The dwelling may be a house, condominium, or mobile home.

Arizona’s New COVID Laws

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Arizona, according to data compiled by state health officials, state lawmakers have enacted two new laws aimed at restricting responses to the malicious and malingering coronavirus.

Early Voting Under Attack in Arizona

In Arizona, recent laws have made it harder to vote early, including making it illegal to bring a person’s early ballot to the polls unless it’s by a family member or caretaker

Statute of Limitations: Time Limits to File Lawsuits in AZ

The law imposes time limits for the filing of lawsuits. These time limits are known as statutes of limitations.

Save on Court Fees – Consider Mediation and Arbitration of Disputes

Mediation is a process in which a neutral person (the “mediator”), often a retired judge, assists the parties in reaching their own settlement, but the mediator does not have the authority to make a binding decision.

Explore All Articles by Practice Area:

Don Loose Author
Lawyer | Loose Law Group | View My Profile

Donald A. Loose is an Arizona attorney, and the author of Arizona Laws 101: A Handbook for Non-Lawyers, and Estate Planning in Arizona: What You Need to Know.  Mr. Loose is a regular guest on radio shows featuring local newsmaker interviews. He may be contacted at don@looselawgroup.com.