Actio Quod Metus Causa Law and Legal Definition

Actio quod metus causa means an action that imposes an extra punitive measure or penal element against the defendant who wrongfully compels the plaintiff to assume an obligation. For example, when a litigant brings an action on the ground of coercion of contract it is called an actio quod metus causa. If the action is brought within a year, then the plaintiff can recover damages of four times the value of the extorted property. However, if the action is brought after one year then liability will be limited to the restoration of the performance that had originally been made. Such remedy can be claimed only if the plaintiff had good cause to bring the action after such a long time. Although, the main aim of actio quod metus causa action was to penalize the defendant financially for his/her conduct, in practice the true aim of the action was only restitutionary. It is a general or impersonal action and it can be invoked not only against the intimidator, but also against anyone. It can even be invoked against a bona fide third party who benefits from the transaction.