Analogous to the idea that threats must be such as to terrify a man of ordinary firmness is the principle not infrequently stated that if the law provides adequate redress or compensation for the injury threatened, the threat will not amount to duress. Indeed the only reason which could be given for the latter rule is that such a threat should not terrify a person of resolution.73 But though such statements are still repeated, the rule is artificial and, so far as it would require a person threatened with injury necessarily to endure the injury because the law provides a remedy for it, cannot be accepted. The inquiry must always be pertinent whether under all the circumstances of each case the remedy is adequate, and the mere fact that it cannot be made effective immediately will often make it inadequate.74 It is true, refusal to pay a debt or to perform the request of the lessee in proving a fire loss to enable insurance to be recovered, unless money was paid to which the lessor was not entitled, when a delay would have involved the lessor's ruin, was held such coercion as to justify recovery of what the lessor wrongly exacted,80 So where a vessel was refused clearance until a contract was signed by the master;81 and in other cases where pecuniary loss was threatened by wrongful acts for which the law provided no means of prevention,82 the coerced transaction has been held voidable.
69 Marriot v. Hampton, 7 T. R. 260; De Medina v. Grove, 10 Q. B. 152; Turlington v. Slaughter, 54 Ala. 195; Hagar v. Springer, 60 Me. 436; Fuller v. Shattuck, 13 Gray, 70, 74 Am. Dec. 622; People's Savings Bank v. Heath, 175 Mass. 131, 55 N. £. 807, 78 Am. St. Rep.' 481; Greenabaum v. Elliott, 60 Mo. 25; Deseret National Bank v. Nuckolls, 30 Neb. 754, 47 N. W. 202; Finklestone v. Lanzke, 63 N. Y. Misc. 330, 117 N. Y. S. 183; Federal Ins. Co. v. Robinson, 82 Pa. St. 357; Ogle v. Baker, 137 Pa. St. 378, 20 Atl. 998, 21 Am. St. Rep. 886. Cf. Moses v. Macferlan, 2 Burr. 1005; Walker v. Ames, 2 Cow. 428.
70 Farrow v. Mayes, 18 Q. B. 516; Hollingsworth v. Stone, 90 Ind. 244; Trimmer v. Rochester, 130 N. Y. 401, 405, 29 N. E. 746.
71 Elston v. Chicago, 40 El. 514, 89 Am. Dec. 361; Hollingsworth v. Stone, 90 Ind. 244.
72 Florence, etc., Co. v. Louisville Banking Co., 138 Ala. 588, 36 So. 456, 100 Am. St. Rep. 50; Reynolds v.
Hosmer, 45 CaL 616; Chicago, etc., R. Co. v. Adams, 26 Ind. App. 443, 59 N. E. 1087; Hipp v. Crenshaw, 64 Iowa, 404, 20 N. W. 492; Stevens v. Fitch, 11 Mete. (Mass.) 248; Carson's Adin. v. Suggett's Adm., 34 Mo. 364, 86 Am. Dec. 112; Campbell v. Kauff-man Milling Co., 127 Mo. App. 287, 105 N. W. 286; Hier v. Anheuser-Busch Brewing Ass'n, 60 Neb. 320, 83 N. W. 77; Clark v. Pinney, 6 Cow. 298; Scholey v. Halsey, 72 N. Y. 578; Haebler v. Myers, 132 N. Y. 363, 30 N. E. 963, 15 L. R. A. 588; Bickett v. Garner, 31 Oh. St. 28; Metschan v. Grant County, 36 Or. 117, 58 Pac. 80; Travelers' Ins. Co. v. Heath, 95 Pa. St. 333; Chapman v. Sutton, 68 Wis. 657, 32 N. W. 683. In the following cases payment of a judgment, afterwards reversed, was held under the particular facts, to have been voluntary. Winston v. Nunez, 25 La. Ann. 476; Ritchie v. Carter, 89 Mo. App. 290; Gould v. McFall, 118 Pa. 455, 12 Atl. 336, 4 Am. St. Rep. 606.
73 In Joannin v. Ogilvie, 49 Minn. 564,668,52 N. W. 217,16 L. R. A. 376, 32 Am. St. Rep. 581, the court said: "The fact that a lawsuit is threatened or property has been seized on legal process in judicial proceedings to enforce an illegal demand will not render its payment compulsory, at least in the absence of fraud on part of the demandant in resorting to legal process for the purpose of extorting payment of a claim which he knows to be unjust. The ground upon which this doctrine rests is that the party has an opportunity to plead and test the legality of the claim in the very proceedings in which his property is seized. Under this class fall the following cases cited by plaintiffs: Forbes v. Appleton, 5 Cush. 115; Benson v. Monroe, 7 Cush. 125; Taylor v. Board of Health, 31 Pa. St. 73, 72 Am. Dec. 724; Oceanic Steam Nay. Co. v. Tappan, 16 Blatchf. 297. Also the payment of an illegal license to follow a particular business, where the party could not have been subjected to any penalties without judicial proceedings to enforce them, in which he would have an opportunity to contest the legality of the license, or where the license was exacted for a business the pursuit of which was not a natural right, but a mere privilege, which might be granted or withheld, at the option of the State. To this class belong the following cases cited by plaintiffs: Cook v. Boston, 0 Allen, 393;
Emery v. Lowell, 127 Mass. 138; Mays v, Cincinnati, 1 Ohio St. 268; Custin v. City of Viroqua, 67 Wis. 314, 30 N. W. 515."
74 United States v. Huckabee, 16 Wall. 414, 432, 21 L. Ed. 457. " De cided cases may be found which deny that contracts procured by menace of a mere battery to the person, or of trespass to lands, or loss of goods, can be avoided on that account, as such threats it is said are not of a nature to overcome the will of a firm and prudent man; but many other decisions of high authority adopt a more liberal rule, and hold that contracts procured by threats of battery to the person, or of destruction of property, may be avoided by proof of such facts, because, in such a case, there is nothing but the form of a contract without the substance. Foshay v. Ferguson, 5 Hill, 154, 158; Central Bank v. Cope-land, 18 Md. 305, 317, 81 Am. Dec. 697; Eadie v. Slimmon, 28 N. Y. 9, 12, 82 Am. Dec. 395, 1 Story, Equity Jurisprudence (9th ed.), 239. Positive menace of battery to the person, or of trespass to lands, or of destruction of goods, may undoubtedly be, in many cases, sufficient to overcome the mind and will of a person entirely competent, in all other respects, to contract, and it is clear that a contract made under such circumstances, is as utterly without the voluntary consent of the party menaced, as if he were induced to sign it by actual violence; nor is the reason a contract has been held not to amount to duress,75 and the reason given is often that the law provides adequate redress for the injury; but it is evident that such a threat will seldom effect so complete a coercion of the will as to justify a finding of duress. The refusal to perform a mere contract obligation is not likely to be as effective in this respect as a refusal to recognize the rights of another in specific property. But it is inconsistent with the modern theory of duress to assert as an infallible rule that threatened repudiation of contractual obligation cannot amount to duress; and the refusal of a bank to allow a depositor to draw on his account until he had executed a contract, has been held to make the contract voidable.76 The case may be distinguished where the law will not simply give compensation for a threatened injury, but will prevent it. Thus where a buyer in possession of land under a contract of purchase pays more than he was bound to in order to get a conveyance, which the grantor refused otherwise to give him, he was denied recovery of the excessive payment.77 But sometimes even in such cases "although there be a legal remedy a person's situation, or the situation of his property, is such that the legal remedy would not be adequate to protect him from irreparable prejudice." 78 Generally the inadequacy will be due to the delay involved in invoking the law.75 A refusal by a lessor to join at assigned for the more stringent rule, that he should rely upon the law for redress, satisfactory, as the law may not afford him anything like a sufficient and adequate compensation for the injury."
75 Silliman v. United States, 101 U. S. 465, 25 L. Ed. 987; Domenico v. Alaska Packers' Assoc., 112 Fed. 554 (rev'd on another point 117 Fed. 99, 54 C. C. A. 485); Burnes v. Burnes, 132 Fed. 485,493; Simmons v. Sweeney, 13 Cal. App. 283, 109 Pac. 265; Rosen-feld v. Boston Mutual L. Ins. Co., 222 Mass. 284, 110 N. E. 304; Hackley v. Headley, 45 Mich. 569, 8 N. W. 511; Goebel v. linn, 47 Mich. 489, 11 N. W. 284, 41 Am. Rep. 723; Cable v. Foley, 45 Minn. 421, 47 N. W. 1135; Joannin v. Ogilvie, 49 Minn. 564, 568, 52 N. W.
217, 16 L. R. A. 376, 32 Am. St. Rep. 581; Wood v. Kansas City Home Tel. Co., 223 Mo. 537, 123 S. W. 6; Boss v. Hutchinson, 182 N. Y. App. D. 88, 169 N. Y. S. 513; Miller v. Miller, 68 Pa. 486. 76 Adams v. Schiffer, 11 Col. 15, 17 Pac. 21, 7 Am. St. Rep. 202.
77 Smithwick v. Whitley, 152 N. C. 366, 67 S. E. 913, 28 L. R. A. (N. 8.) 113.
78 DeGraff v. Ramsey Co., 46 Minn. 319, 48 N. W. 1135; quoted in Joannin v. Ogilvie, 49 Minn. 564, 568, 52 N. W. 217, 16 L. R. A. 376, 32 Am. St. Rep. 581.
79 "Plaintiff might have such an immediate want of his goods that an action of trover would not do his business." Astley v. Reynolds, 2 Strange, 915.