law-quantum-meruit | Quantum Meruit Caselaw from Houston courts of appeals |  money-had-and-received |
quantum meruit theory of recovery | promissory estoppel theory


Quantum meruit is an equitable and alternative theory of recovery intended to prevent unjust
enrichment. See In re Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., 166 S.W.3d 732, 740 (Tex. 2005). A cause of
action for quantum meruit arises when a plaintiff establishes that it has provided a valuable service to
the defendant, the defendant accepted the service, and the defendant had reasonable notice that the
plaintiff expected to receive compensation. See Excess Underwriters at Lloyd's v. Frank's Casing
Crew & Rental Tools, Inc., 246 S.W.3d 42, 49 (Tex. 2008). However, while a party may seek
alternative relief under contract and quasi-contract theories, it generally cannot recover under
quantum meruit when there is a valid contract covering the services or materials furnished and no
exception applies. In re Kellogg Brown & Root, 166 S.W.3d at 740. The Texas Supreme Court has
recognized only three exceptions to the general rule that an express contract bars recovery under
quantum meruit: (1) "when a plaintiff has partially performed an express contract but, because of the
defendant's breach, the plaintiff is prevented from completing the contract"; (2) "when a plaintiff
partially performs an express contract that is unilateral in nature"; and (3) in a construction contract,
when a breaching plaintiff may recover the reasonable value of services less any damages suffered
by the defendant if the defendant accepts and retains the benefits arising from the plaintiff's partial
performance. See Truly v. Austin, 744 S.W.2d 934, 936 (Tex. 1988).

CITY OF CARROLLTON v. MCMAHON CONTRACTING, L.P.; from Dallas County; 5th district
(05-07-01626-CV, 277 SW3d 458, 01-16-09, pet. denied July 2009) (construction dispute with local
governmental entity, breach of contract, quantum meruit, prompt payment claims, immunity issue) 2 petitions