What is Account Stated?

Legal Definition
Under United States law, account stated is a statement between a creditor (the person to whom money is owed) and a debtor (the person who owes) based upon a series of prior transactions that a particular amount is owed to the creditor as of a certain date. Often the account stated is a bill, invoice or a summary of invoices, signed by the customer or sent to the customer who pays part or all of it without protest.

An account stated may also be established when the debtor retains the statement of account (for example the bill or invoice) without objecting, for a reasonable length of time. "Reasonable" is determined by looking at the surrounding circumstances. An account stated is in the nature of a kind of settlement between the parties, such as when a person receives a bank statement, is capable and even obligated to check the math within a specified period of time, otherwise the account as between the parties is thus "stated." The key element is either the express agreement or an agreement implied by law under all the facts and circumstances.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
A statement between a creditor and a debtor that settles the total amount of debt owed to the creditor.

There are three elements of an account stated: (1) There exists prior transactions between the parties, creating a creditor-debtor relationship; (2) An agreement, express or implied, between the parties as to the total amount due; and (3) A promise by the debtor, express or implied, to repay the amount due.
Legal Definition
The settlement of an account between the parties, by which a balance is struck in favor of one of them, is called an account stated.

2. An acknowledgnaent of a single item of debt due from the defendant to the plaintiff is sufficient to support a count on an account stated. 13 East, 249; 5 M.& S. 65.

3. It is proposed to consider, 1st, by whom an account may, be stated; 2d, the manner of stating the account; 3d, the declaration upon such, an account; 4th, the evidence.

4. 1. An account may be stated by a man and his wife of the one part, and a third person; and unless there is an express promise to pay by the husband, Foster v. Allanson, 2 T. R. 483, the action must be brought against husband and wife. Drue v. Thorne, Aleyn, 72. A plaintiff cannot recover against a defendant upon an account stated by him, partly as administrator and partly in his own private capacity. Herrenden v. Palmer, Hob. 88. Persons wanting a legal capacity to make a contract cannot, in general, state an account; as infants, Truman v. Hurst, 1 T. R. 40; and persons non compos mentis.

5. A plaintiff may recover on an account stated with the defendant, including debts due from the defendant alone, and from the defendant and a deceased partner jointly. Riebards v. Heather, 1 B.& A. 29, and see Peake's Ev. 257. A settlement between partners, and striking a balance, will enable a plaintiff to maintain an action on such stated account for the balance due him, Ozeas v. Johnson, 4 Dall. 434; S. C. 1 Binn. 191; S. P. Andrews v. Allen, 9 S. & R. 241; and see Lamelere v Caze, 1 W. C.C.R. 435.

6. – 2. It is sufficient, although the account be stated of that which is due to the plaintiff only without making any deduction for any counter-claim for the defendant, Styart v. Rowland, 1 Show. 215. It is not essential that there should be cross demands between the parties or that the defendant's acknowledgment that a certain sum was due from him to the plaintiff, should relate to more than a single debt, or transaction. 6 Maule & Selw. 65; Knowles et al. 13 East, 249. The acknowledgment by the defendant that a certain sum is due, creates an implied promise to pay the amount. Milward v. Ingraham, 2 Mod. 44; Foster v. Allanson, 2 T. R. 480.

7. – 3. A count on an account stated is almost invariably inserted in declarations in assumpsit for the recovery of a pecuniary demand. See form, 1 Chit. PI. 336. It is advisable, generally, to insert such a count, Milward, v. Ingraham, 2 Mod. 44; Trueman v. Hurst, 1 T. R. 42; unless the action be against persons who are incapable in law to state an account. It is not necessary to set forth the subject-matter of the original debt, Milward v. Ingraham, 2 Mod. 44; nor is the sum alleged to be due material. Rolls v. Barnes, 1 Bla. Rep. 65; S. C. 1 Burr. 9.

8. – 4. The count upon an account stated, is supported by evidence of an acknowledgment on the part of the defendant of money due to the plaintiff, upon an account between them. But the sum must have been stated between the parties; it is not sufficient that the balance may be deduced from partnership books. Andrews v. Allen, 9 S.&. R. 241. It is unnecessary to prove the items of which the account consists; it is sufficient to prove some existing antecedent debt or demand between the parties respecting which an account was stated, 5 Moore, 105; 4 B.& C. 235, 242; 6 D.& R. 306; and that a balance was struck and agreed upon; Bartlet v. Emery, 1 T. R. 42, n; for the stating of the account is the consideration of the promise. Bull. N. P. 129. An account stated does not alter the original debt; Aleyn, 72; and it seemsnot to be conclusive against the party admitting the balance against him. 1 T. R. 42. He would probably be allowed to show a gross error or mistake iu the account, if he could adduce clear evidence to that effect. See 1 Esp. R. 159. And see generally tit. Partner's; Chit. Contr. 197; Stark. Ev. 123; 1 Chit. Pl. 343.

9. In courts of equity when a bill for an account has been filed, it is a good defence that the parties have already in writing stated and adjusted the items of the account, and struck a balance; for then an action lies it law, and there is no ground for the interference of a court of equity. 1 Atk. 1; 2 Freem. 62; 4 Cranch, 306; 11 Wheat. 237; 9 Ves. 265; 2 Bro. Ch. R. 310; 3 Bro. Ch. R. 266; 1 Cox, 435.

10. But if there has been any mistake, ommision, fraud, or undue advantage, by which the account stated is in fact vitiated, and the balance incorrectly fixed, a court of equity will open it, and allow it to be re-examined; and where there has been gross fraud it will direct the whole account to be opened, and examined de novo. Fonbl. Eq. b. 1, c. 1 3, note (f); 1 John. Ch. R. 550.

11. Sometimes the court will allow the account to stand, with liberty to the plaintiff to surcharge and falsify it; the effect of this is, to leave the account in full force and vigor, as a stated account, except so far as it can be impugned by the opposing party. 2 Ves. 565; 11 Wheat. 237. See Falsification; Surcharge.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
The settlement of an account between the parties, with a balance struck in favor of one of them ; an account rendered by the creditor, and by the debtor assented to as correct, either expressly, or by implication of law from the failure to object. Ivy Coal Co. v. Long, 139 Ala. 535, 36 South 722; ac-arino v. Pallotti, 49 Conn. 36; McLellan v. Crofton, 6 Me. 307; James v. Fellowes. 20 La. Ann. 116; Lockwood v. Thorne. 18 N. Y. 285; Holmes v. Page. 19 Or. 232. 23 Pac. 961; Philips v. Belden, 2 Edw. Ch (N. Y.) 1; Ware v. Manning, 86 Ala. 238, 5 South 682; Morse v. Minton, 101 Iowa, 603, 70 N. W. 691.

This was also a common count in a declaration upon a contract under which the plaintiff might prove an absolute acknowledgment by the defendant of a liquidated demand of a fixed amount, which implies a promise to pay on request. It might be joined with any other count for a money demand. The acknowledgment or admission must have been made to the plaintiff or his agent. Wharton.
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
An account submitted by a creditor to his debtor and by the latter acknowledged to be correct. See 54 Am. St. Rep. 93.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary