Laches, by which is meant such tardiness in asserting a right as makes its enforcement inequitable, bars the enforcement of quasi contractual as well as of other obligations of an equitable nature.1 But laches should not be confused with change of position. The latter, it is true, is an element in the former, for the defendant is not prejudiced unless some change in his position occurs. But while change of position alone is a defense only when it appears that the defendant was not responsible for the mistake under which the benefit was conferred upon him, or was responsible in no greater degree than the plaintiff, laches is, or should be, a defense even when the mistake was the result of the defendant's negligence alone.
1 Skyring v. Greenwood, 1825, 4 Barn. & Cr. 281; Pooley v. Brown, 1862, 11 C. B. N. S. 566; United States v. Clinton Nat. Bank, 1886, 28 Fed. 357, (C. C, la.); Continental Nat. Bank v. Met. Nat. Bank, 1903, 107 III App. 455; Iron City Nat. Bank v. Fort Pitt Nat. Bank, 1893,159 Pa. St. 46; 28 Atl. 195; 23 L. R. A. 615. And see London, etc., Bank v. Bank of Liverpool,  1 Q. B. 7; Bank of St. Albans v. Farmers', etc., Bank, 1838, 10 Vt. 141.