This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
The general doctrine forbidding recovery of voluntary payments has of course no application to payments which are not voluntary. The general rule is, that if A receives money belonging to B, which is not paid voluntarily by B, A is bound in law to repay it.1 Thus, where A was arrested upon a charge of stealing, and brought before B, a trial justice, and B took from A the money which A had upon his person and which was alleged to be the stolen money, and A is discharged upon a preliminary hearing, A can recover such money from B.2 So, if an agent of an express company induces a bank to send money by express to a fictitious firm, which money the agent receives as agent for the express company, and which he embezzles, the bank can recover from the express company in an action for money bad and received.3 The classes of payments which are not voluntary may for the most part be grouped under two general heads: payment by mistake, and payment by duress or compulsion of law. These topics will be discussed in the following sections.
12Harralson v. Barrett, 99 Cal. 607; 34 Pac. 342.
13 Indianapolis v. Vajen, 111 Ind. 240; 12 N. E. 311; Durham v. Board, 95 Ind. 182.
14 Doneh v. Lake County, 4 Ind. App, 374; 30 N. E. 204.
15 Selby v. United States, 47 Fed. 800.
16 Pepperday v. Bank, 183 Pa.
St. 519; 63 Am. St. Rep. 769; 39 L. R. A. 529; 38 Atl. 1030.
1 Pemberton v. Williams, 87 III. 15; Carter v. Riggs, 112 Ia. 245; 83 N. W. 905; Mason v. Prendergast, 120 N. Y. 536; 24 N. E. 806; Motz v. Mitchell, 91 Pa. St. 114.
2 Welch v. Gleason, 28 S. C. 247; 5 S. E. 599.