The Guide is an invaluable online tool for litigation and transactional attorneys. The Guide provides for more than 70 common law causes of action:

- Each action’s elements;
- The most recent state and federal cases that cite the actions’ elements;
- The applicable statute of limitations for each action; and
- Defenses to each cause of action.
- AND, The Guide is updated annually.

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Account Stated

1 Elements and Case Citations

  1. Previous transactions between the parties establishing the relationship of debtor and creditor;
  2. An agreement between the parties, express or implied, on the amount due from the debtor to the creditor; and
  3. The account is sent to the debtor who does not object to it within a reasonable time.
  4. Under such circumstances the law will find a promise by the debtor, express or implied, to pay the amount due.”

For form pleading see California Judicial Council form No. PLD-C-001(2) (“Common Counts”).


CALIFORNIA STATE COURTS

California Supreme Court: Trafton v. Youngblood, 69 Cal. 2d 17, 25 (1968).

California 1st Dist.: Crofts & Anderson v. Johnson, 101 Cal. App. 2d 418, 421 (1950).

California 2d Dist.: Truestone, Inc. v. Simi W. Indus. Park II, 163 Cal. App. 3d 715, 725 (1984).

California 3d Dist.: Mercantile Trust Co. v. Doe, 26 Cal. App. 246, 252 (1914).

California 4th Dist.: Maggio, Inc. v. Neal, 196 Cal. App. 3d 745, 752 (1987).

California 5th Dist.: H. Russell Taylor’s Fire Prevention Service, Inc. v. Coca Cola Bottling Corp., 99 Cal. App. 3d 711, 726-27 (1979).

CALIFORNIA FEDERAL COURTS

United States Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit: S.O.S., Inc. v. Payday, Inc., 886 F.2d 1081, 1091 (9th Cir. 1989).

Central District: Xerox Corp. v. A & M Printing, No. CV 12-00043 MMM (Ex), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74179, at *13 (C.D. Cal. May 20, 2013).

Eastern District: United States ex rel. Hajoca Corp. v. Aeroplate Corp., No. 1: 12-cv-1287-AWI-BAM, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97753, at *11 (E.D. Cal. July 11, 2013).

Northern District: FDIC v. Hyun, No. 12-4749-PSG, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90814, at *10 (N.D. Cal. June 26, 2013).

Southern District: Ambriz v. Patenaude & Felix, A.P.C., No. 12-CV-1309 W (MDD), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79188, at *5 (S.D. Cal. June 4, 2013).

2 Defenses to Claim for Account Stated

(1) Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 431.30(b)(2) (pleading affirmative defenses), and other standard defenses. See Chapter ­­1 for all defenses.

(2) Same Grounds for Demurrer as Related Specific Claims: “When a common count is used as an alternative way of seeking the same recovery demanded in a specific cause of action, and is based on the same facts, the common count is demurrable if the cause of action is demurrable.” McBride v. Boughton, 123 Cal. App. 4th 379, 394-95 (2004).

(3) Limitations on Need to Plead Affirmative Defenses to Common Counts: Because “Account Stated” is one of the “common counts” there are limitations on the requirements to plead affirmative defenses:

“The common count is a general pleading which seeks recovery of money without specifying the nature of the claim . . .. Because of the uninformative character of the complaint, it has been held that the typical answer, a general denial, is sufficient to raise almost any kind of defense, including some which ordinarily require special pleading.” . . . However, even where the plaintiff has pleaded in the form of a common count, the defendant must raise in the answer any new matter, that is, anything he or she relies on that is not put in issue by the plaintiff.

Title Insurance Co. v. State Bd. of Equalization, 4 Cal. 4th 715, 731 (1992).

(4) Statute of Limitations: Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 337(2) (four years if written); Cal.. Code Civ.Proc. §339(1) (two years if oral); see Truestone, Inc. v. Simi W. Indus. Park II, 163 Cal. App. 3d 715, 725 (1984)(an account stated “need not be in writing.”).

(5) “[A]n account stated is formed when a statement of the amount owed is sent to a debtor and the debtor fails to respond in a reasonable time thereby implying agreement to the amount owed.” See Hadsell v. Mandarich Law Group, LLP, 12-cv-235-L(RBB), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49191, at *9-10 (S.D. Cal. Apr. 3, 2013).

(6) An account stated, being a contract (see Trafton v. Youngblood, 69 Cal. 2d 17, 25 (1968)) is subject to other contract action defenses, for example, lack of consent (Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1565-1579), illegality (Cal. Civ. Code §§ 1595-1599), and lack of capacity (Cal. Civ. Code § 1556). See also Cal. Fam. Code §§ 6500 et seq. (minors) and Cal. Civ. Code §§ 38 et seq. (incompetents).

(7) Because an account stated claim is premised on a preexisting relationship with prior transactions, it is “‘intended to preserve and protect legitimate demands but not to create obligations independent of prior indebtedness,’ the rendering of an account, although not objected to, cannot create a liability where no liability existed before.’” Trafton v. Youngblood, 69 Cal. 2d 17, 26 (1968).

(8) “An account stated need not be submitted by the creditor to the debtor. A statement expressing the debtor's assent and acknowledging the agreed amount of the debt to the creditor equally establishes an account stated.” Truestone, Inc. v. Simi W. Indus. Park II, 163 Cal. App. 3d 715, 725 (1984).

(9) Parties cannot go behind an account stated and attack the original items of the account except on a proper averment of fraud, duress, or mistake. See Lund v. Utter-McKinley Mortuaries, 186 Cal. App. 2d 162, 168 (1960).

(10) Once the account has been stated, however, a subsequent breach of the underlying contract does not provide a defense See S.O.S., Inc. v. Payday, Inc., 886 F.2d 1081, 1091 (9th Cir. 1989) (relying on Gardner v. Watson, 170 Cal. 570, 577 (1915)).

(11) Production of “Account:” Pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 454, “[i]t is not necessary for a party to set forth in a pleading the items of an account therein alleged, but he must deliver to the adverse party, within ten days after a demand thereof in writing, a copy of the account, or be precluded from giving evidence thereof. The court or judge thereof may order a further account when the one delivered is too general, or is defective in any particular.”