Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 17,300+ case briefs...

Watkins’ Case

Court of Common Pleas
YB 3 Hen. 6, f. 36, Hil., pl. 33 (1425)


W.B. (plaintiff) contracted to have Watkins (defendant) construct a mill. Watkins did not complete the mill on time, and W.B. brought a writ of trespass on the case (writ of trespass) for damages in tort of 10 marks. Watkins’ attorney, Rolfe, argued that W.B. had failed to state a claim because a contract price for the construction of the mill was never declared. Chief Justice Babington argued that a tort could result from a breach of contract and that a writ of trespass was proper. Babington suggested that a writ of trespass might be brought against an attorney who acted negligently and lost a client’s property or a roofer who did not complete a roof on time and allowed the homeowner’s property to be damaged by rain. Justice Martin argued that a writ of covenant was the proper cause of action for nonfeasance, or a defendant’s failure to perform under a contract. Further, Martin indicated that a tort could only be caused by a breach of contract for misfeasance, meaning the defendant performed badly under the contract. As an example, Martin argued that a writ of trespass could be brought against a farrier (a specialist in hoof care) who contracted to shoe a horse, but lamed the animal instead. Martin asserted that allowing a writ of trespass in this case would give anyone the right to bring a writ of trespass for any breach of contract. Justice Cokayne indicated that it could be assumed that Watkins was to be paid under the contract and that a writ of trespass could be brought for nonfeasance under a contract. Cokayne argued that a writ of trespass would be proper against a ditch-digger who did not perform a contract to repair ditches, causing the property to flood by nonfeasance. Rolfe argued that W.B. told Watkins that the mill was no longer wanted, which W.B.’s attorney, Strangeways, denied. The issues were joined.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 457,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 457,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 17,300 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial