Rather than allege a simple breach of contract claim, a plaintiff may also allege an action on account if the proper circumstances/facts exist. The two are very similar, but are usually included as separate claims.
An action on account is an action at law, based in contract. Austin v. Pickett, 87 S.W.3d 343, 347 (Mo. Ct. App. 2002). Specifically, an action on account is appropriate if the parties have conducted a series of transactions for which a balance remains to be paid. The plaintiff has the burden of making a case by proving an offer, an acceptance, consideration, correctness of the account, and the reasonableness of the charges. Helmtec Indus., Inc. v. Motorcycle Stuff, Inc., 857 S.W.2d 334, 335 (Mo. Ct. App. 1993). The plaintiff must also prove that the defendant requested him to furnish services, that he accepted defendant’s offer by furnishing such services, and that the charges for those services were reasonable. Berlin v. Pickett, 221 S.W.3d 406 (Mo. Ct. App. 2006). An account may be proven by oral testimony from a witness who has knowledge of the value of the services rendered, the amount paid, and outstanding balance. Berlin v. Pickett, 221 S.W.3d 406 (Mo. App., 2006). As with all evidence, however, supporting documents are also always helpful and can be more persuasive depending on the judge/jury.
What’s the difference between a suit on account and breach of contract? While there is certainly overlap, a suit on account is more applicable if there has/have been prior payment(s) and there remains a delinquency. This isn’t necessarily an element of a contract action. Therefore, whether you are claiming that you are owed money on account/contract, or whether you are being sued for an action in contract/account, contact us with questions.