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.
Money paid to the use of another cannot be recovered unless there is a promise, either express or implied, to repay it.1 If A voluntarily pays B's debt to C, with full knowledge of the facts, under no compulsion, and without B's previous request or subsequent ratification, A cannot recover the money thus paid from C as money paid to C's use.2 Thus, if an agent pays a note of his principals out of his own money, without their authority, he cannot collect from one of the makers who does not assent to such payment.3 So if, without any compulsion of law, A has paid taxes on B's property, A cannot recover from B. Thus a lessee who has paid taxes on the leased property which the lessor should have paid, but has not done so at lessor's request nor because lessor has refused to pay such taxes, cannot recover for such taxes from lessor where he has for years paid the full amount of the rent without demanding repayment for such taxes, or deducting the amount thus paid from the rent.4 So a remainder-man who has the property assessed to him instead of to the life tenant and has paid taxes thereon with the knowledge of the life tenant but not at his request, cannot recover from him the amounts thus paid.5 One having no interest in realty which could be affected by a tax is a volunteer as to taxes paid by him and cannot recover.6 If taxes on B's land are paid by A under mistake of fact, A may recover from B. Thus where B had acquired title by adverse possession, and A, the original owner, not knowing of such adverse possession continues to pay taxes on such realty, B may recover from A the amount thus paid.7 So if A is legally liable for taxes which as between B and A it is B's duty to pay, A may recover from B the amounts so paid.8 If the claim which A pays to C is not one which should have been enforced against B legally, it is still clearer that A has no right to recover from B in the absence of previous request or subsequent ratification. Thus B had ordered cabbages to be shipped to A by C, a common carrier, in a ventilated fruit car not to be iced. The car was not iced when forwarded from the place of shipment; but at some time in the transit it was iced, probably by C's agents, without authority from B. A paid to C the charges for icing the car. It was held that A could not recover from B for such payment.9 B had agreed to deliver four hundred cords of wood to A, to be transported by A to Milwaukee. When B came to deliver such wood to be loaded, he found that about sixty cords of wood, of such grade that it did not comply with the terms of the contract, was piled in front of the wood which he intended to ship under his contract. In order to save the cost of handling this sixty cord load twice, B agreed with C, the captain of the vessel, to transport this load of wood at B's dock at Milwaukee. C, however, instead of doing this, delivered this sixty cord load of other wood to A at A's yard. A refused to accept this load of wood under the contract, but paid to C the freight for such transportation. It was held that A could not recover such amount from B.10 If A voluntarily pays B's debt to C, and B refuses to reimburse
7 Gregory v. Clabrough's Executors, 129 Cal. 475; 62 Pac. 72.
8 Gregory v. Clabrough's Execu tors, 129 Cal. 475; 62 Pac. 72.
1 Kenan v. Holloway, 16 Ala. 53; 50 Am. Dec. 162; Helm v. Smith Fee Co., 76 Minn. 328; 79 N. W. 313; Contoocook Fire Precinct v. Hopkinton, 71 N. H. 574; 53 Atl. 797; Flynn v. Hurd, 118 N. Y. 19; 22 N. E. 1109; Peoples', etc., Bank v. Craig. 63 O. S. 374; 52 L. P. A. 872; 59 N. E. 102; Crumlish v. Improvement Co., 38 W. Va. 390; 45 Am. St. Rep. 872; 23 L. R. A. 120; 18 S. E. 456.
2 Flynn v. Hurd, 118 N. Y. 19;
22 N. E. 1109; Kershaw County v. Camden, 33 S. C. 140; 11 S. E. 635; Crumlish v. Improvement Co., 38 W. Va. 390; 45 Am. St. Rep. 872;
23 L. R. A. 120; 18 S. E. 456.
3 Peoples', etc., Bank v. Craig, 63 O. S. 374; 52 L. R. A. 872; 59 N. E. 102.
4 Western, etc., Ry. v. State (Ga.), 14 L. R. A. 438.
5 Huddleson v. Washington, 136 Cal. 514; 69 Pac. 146.
6 Rushton v. Burke, 6 Dak. 478; 43 N. W. 815.
7 Merrill v. Tobin, 82 la. 529; 48 N. W. 1044.
8 See Sec. 838.
9 Earl v. Commission Co., 70 Ark. 61; 66 S. W. 148.
A, A cannot recover such payment from C.11 Thus, where a married woman voluntarily delivers notes which belong to her separate estate in payment of her husband's debt, she cannot subsequently recover the notes or the proceeds thereof from the person to whom they are delivered in payment.12 The rule, that when he voluntarily pays the debt of another, cannot recover from such other, has no application where, instead of paying the debt, the person who advances the money takes the assignment of the claim. A trust company, B, had arranged with a packing company, C, that C should keep a certain deposit with
B, and that B should pay tickets which were issued for the payment of live stock bought by C. C's deposit with B was not to be used in payment of such advances, but B was to forward to C a statement of the money thus advanced, and C was to remit the amount thereof to B. Subsequently, the trust company asked A, a bank, to advance money to pay these tickets. A did so, taking the assignment of the tickets. B subsequently became insolvent. It was held, as between A and C, that A had a right to recover from C the amount advanced by A upon such tickets which were assigned over to A.13