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 mere fact that one makes a payment when in doubt as to his legal rights and afraid of imperiling them if he refuses payment does not constitute duress.1 This is merely an illustration of a mistake of law. The party paying does not know whether he is bound by law to pay or not, and to save his rights he makes payment. In such case, if he was not bound by law to of proof, and a new trial ordered.
6Carew v. Rutherford, 106 Mass. 1; 8 Am. Rep. 287. This case was subsequently settled, and was not tried a second time.
7 Panton v. Duluth, etc., Co., 50 Minn. 175; 36 Am. St. Rep. 635; 52 N. W. 527; St. Louis Brewing Association v. St. Louis (Mo.), 37 S. W. 525.
8 Indiana, etc., Co. v. Anthony, 26 Ind. App. 307; 58 N. E. 868.
9 Westlake v. St. Louis, 77 Mo. 47; 46 Am. Rep. 4.
10 Capital, etc., Co. v. Gaines-(Ky.), 49 S. W. 462.
1 Mearkle v. Hennepin Co., 44 Minn. 546; 47 N. W. 165.
1 De La Cuesta v. Ins. Co., 136 Pa. St. 62, 658; 9 L. R. A. 631; 20 Atl. 505.
pay, he has paid under a mistake of law, and cannot recover. If he was bound by law to pay, he has done only what he should have done and cannot recover.