The non-performance of some act which ought to be performed.
When a legislative act requires a person to do a thing, its non feasance will subject the party to punishment; as, if a statute require the supervisors of the highways to repair such highways, the neglect to repair them may be punished.
Mere non-feasance does not imply malice; this is strongly exemplified in the case of a plaintiff, who, having issued a writ of capias against his debtor, afterwards received the debt, and neglected to countermand the writ, in consequence of which the defendant was afterwards arrested. On a suit brought by the former defendant against the former plaintiff, it was held that the law did not impose on the first plaintiff the duty of countermanding his writ. If he had refused to give the countermand when requested, it might have been evidence of malice, but in such case there would have been something beyond mere non-feasance, an actual refusal.
There is a difference between nonfeasance and misfeasance, or malfeasance.
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