In Rhode Island, an “accord and satisfaction” is an agreement to substitute for an existing debt some alternative form of discharging that debt, coupled with the actual discharge of the debt by the substituted performance.[i] The doctrine of accord and satisfaction provides that when two parties agree to give and accept something in satisfaction of a right of action which one has against the other, and that agreement is performed, the right of action is subsequently extinguished.
There must be an honest dispute based on real grounds for dispute in order for a payment to work as an accord and satisfaction in settlement of a disputed claim. However, a person cannot create a dispute sufficient for the purposes of an accord and satisfaction by a mere refusal to pay a claim undisputed in fact.[ii]
[i] Weaver v. Am. Power Conversion Corp., 863 A.2d 193 (R.I. 2004)
[ii] Clark v. Summerfield Co., 40 R.I. 254 (R.I. 1917)