A traditional type of COMMON-LAW PLEADING that is used in actions to recover a debt of money of the defendant based upon an express or implied promise to pay after performance had been rendered. In a common-count PLEADING, the plaintiff sets forth in account form the facts that constitute the basis of his or her claim, such as money had and received and goods sold and delivered.
Common counts were once used to allege the grounds for actions of ASSUMPSIT, a common-law action for the recovery of money owed by a defendant to the plaintiff. The four classes of common counts were (1) the indebitatus count; (2) the QUANTUM MERUIT count; (3) the QUANTUM VALEBANT count; and (4) the ACCOUNT STATED count. The generalized nature of common counts enabled a plaintiff to take advantage of any ground of liability for which proof was available within the limits of the action of assumpsit. This is in contrast to special counts within which a plaintiff had to state a particular claim or be denied relief.
Common counts are no longer used for pleading purposes but have been replaced by complaints according to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and state codes of civil procedure.