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.
If the property of one is seized on legal process procured by another in good faith and "in pursuit of the ordinary remedy afforded by law "1 a payment made to procure the release of such property is not made under duress and cannot be recovered if the right of recovery rests on that ground alone.2 Thus if a
3 Hamlet v. Richardson, 9 Bing. 644; Harriot v. Hampton, 7 T. R. 269. "Money paid under pressure of, legal process cannot be recovered." Moore v. Fulham (1895), 1 Q. B. 399.
4 Brummitt v. McGuire, 107 N. C. 351; 12 S. E. 191.
5 Benson v. Monroe. 7 Cush. (Mass.) 125; 54 Am. Dec. 716.
6 New Orleans, etc., R. R. v. Improvement Co., 109 La. 13; 94 Am. St. Rep. 395; 33 So. 51. The wharfage fees were held legal in New Orleans, etc., R. R. v. Improvement Co., 75 Fed. 309; 21 C. C. A. 364.
7 Dustin v. Farrelly, 81 Mo. App. 380.
8 Holt v. Thomas, 105 Cal. 273; 38 Pac. 891.
9 Burke v. Gould, 105 Cal. 277; 38 Pac. 733; Savannah Savings Bank v. Logan, 99 Ga. 291; 25 S. E. 692; Vereycken v. Vanden-Brooks, 102 Mich. 119; 60 N. W. 687; Shuck v. Loan Association, 63 S. C. 134; 41 S. E. 28.
10 Vereycken v. Vanden-Brooks, 102 Mich. 119; 60 N. W. 687.
1Kohler v. Wells, 26 Cal. 606.
2 "It will not do to hold that a payment secured by none but the means provided by the law itself is resides in one State and his property is duly attached by B in another on a claim which B in good faith believes to be a just one, a payment by A to B to settle such claim and to procure the release of such attachment cannot be recovered.3 So if property is taken in good faith upon an attachment which is not issued simply to hold the property until another attachment can be levied, but is intended as a regular means of securing a just debt, and the first attachment is dismissed because the defendant is misnamed, and a second attachment issues under which the officer continues to hold the attached property, he is not liable in assumpsit because he did not return the attached property to the owner before levying the second attachment.4 A fraudulent use of legal process may amount to duress, however.5 Thus if an attachment is levied not in good faith, but on a claim known to be unfounded for the purpose of extorting a payment, such payment if made to procure the release of such goods is "by compulsion" 2 and may be recovered, especially if made by one who is unable with reasonable diligence to learn the facts.7