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Accounted Stated & Open Book questions

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I have been reading just about every post I can in these forums...and I am particularly confused on something. 


Can someone clarify please what the difference between account stated and open book is? 

What is the relevance or importance to either when you are being sued by a debt collector attorney? 

How do I know if I am being sued under one or the other?  Is it in the complaint? 



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An `account stated' is an acknowledgment of the existing condition of liability between the parties." Chace v. Trafford, 116 Mass. 529, 532. We assume without deciding that the bill sufficiently alleges facts indicating an acknowledgment by the plaintiffs and either the husband or his executor. Nevertheless, the facts alleged are not sufficient to establish an account stated, because there was no "existing condition of liability" to be acknowledged. An account stated "cannot be made the instrument to create a liability where none before existed, but only determines the amount of a debt where liability exists." Chase v. Chase, 191 Mass. 556, 562. Prior to the 1963 amendment the husband was not liable to his wife for the "debt." Nor was he liable even after the amendment was adopted, since there is no indication — and the plaintiffs do not so argue — that it was intended to affect preexisting contracts. See Hanscom v. Malden & Melrose Gas Light Co. 220 Mass. 1, 3-5; Greenaway's Case, 319 Mass. 121, 123.


A book account is defined as ‘a detailed statement, kept in a book, in the nature of debit and credit, arising out of contract or some fiduciary relation.’ It is, of course, necessary for the book to show against whom the charges are made. It must also be made to appear in whose favor the charges run. This may be shown by the production of the book from the possession of the plaintiff and his identification of it as the book in which he kept the account between him and the debtor. An open book account may consist of a single entry reflecting the establishment of an account between the parties, and may contain charges alone if there are no credits to enter. Money loaned is the proper subject of an open book account. Of course a mere private memorandum does not constitute a book account.” (Joslin v. Gertz (1957) 155 Cal.App.2d 62, 65–66 [317 P.2d 155], internal citations omitted.)



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