Account Stated — Open Account — South Florida Commercial Litigation And Arbitration Attorney
Account Stated And Open Account
Actions for an account stated and an open account are two distinct causes of actions requiring different burdens of proof. On one hand, an account stated has been defined to be an agreement between persons who have had previous transactions, fixing the amount due in respect of such transactions, and promising payment.
On the other hand, an open account is an unsettled debt arising from items of work and labor, with the expectation of further transactions subject to future settlements and adjustment. In order to state a valid claim on an open account, the claimant must attach an itemized copy of the account.
An itemized statement of underlying charges is not required to establish a claim for an account stated. Proof of an account stated requires an express or implied agreement between the parties that a specified balance is correct and due, and an express or implied promise to pay this balance. The cause of action is often based upon an implied promise. Thus, when an account statement has been rendered to and received by one who made no objection thereto within a reasonable time, a prima facie case for the correctness of the account and the liability of the debtor has been made. No objection to an account statement impliedly admits the correctness of the amounts on the account statement. A debtor may overcome a prima facie case of an account stated by meeting the burden of proving fraud, mistake, or error in the account.
The cause of action for an account stated is based on the agreement of the parties to pay the amount due upon the accounting, and not any written instrument. Thus, it is not necessary, in order to support a count upon account stated, to show the nature of the original debt, or to prove the specific items constituting the account.
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