Ordinarily the statute of limitations runs from the day when the cause of action arises. But in cases of money paid or other benefit conferred in misreliance upon a right or duty, it ought in justice to run from the date of the discovery, by the plaintiff, of his mistake, or the date when by reasonable diligence he might have discovered it.1 The California statute so provides,2 and in Virginia the courts, by emphasizing the analogy to cases of fraud - in which the statute is commonly held to run from the day when the fraud was or ought to have been discovered - have attained the same result.3 But by the weight of authority, the statute runs from the date of the receipt of the benefit,4 it being assumed in most of the cases on this point that the cause of action then arises.5
1 1888, 128 U. S. 26; 9 S. Ct. 3.
2 The case was one of the payment of a check upon a forged indorsement, both the drawee and the holder believing the indorsement to be genuine. In the course of his opinion, Mr. Justice Gray said (p. 34): "One who, by presenting forged paper to a bank, procures the payment of the amount thereof to him, even if he makes no express warranty, in law represents that the paper is genuine, and, if the payment is made in ignorance of the forgery, is liable to an action by the bank to recover back the money which, in equity and good conscience, has never ceased to be its property. . . . Whenever money is paid upon the representation of the receiver that he has either a certain title in property transferred in consideration of the payment, or a certain authority to receive the money paid, when in fact he has no such title or authority, then, although there be no fraud or intentional misrepresentation on his part, yet there is no consideration for the payment, and the money remains, in equity and good conscience, the property of the payer, and may be recovered back by him, without any previous demand, as money had and received to his use. His right of action accrues, and the statute of limitations begins to run immediately upon the payment."
3 Varnum v. Highgate, 1893, 65 Vt. 416; 26 Atl. 628, (defendant should have known the facts); Turner Falls Lumber Co. v. Burns, 1899, 71 Vt. 354; 45 Atl. 896.