Misfeasance Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Misfeasance, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Misfeasance?

(n) Misfeasance is the unintended, accidental errors, mistakes taken place while managing the business, office or other responsibilities entrusted on a person, causing loss or damage or unfortunate situations out of such mistakes. A misfeasance become a malfeasance when the act was performed with an intention to cause loss.

History and Meaning of Misfeasance

Misfeasance is a legal term used to describe unintentional actions that result in harm to an individual or organization. This harm can take various forms, such as financial loss or damage to reputation. Misfeasance differs from malfeasance in that it is an unintentional act. Misfeasance occurs when an individual, while performing their civic or legal duties, does something incorrectly or makes a mistake that causes harm to another party. In other words, misfeasance is a mistake or an error; it may not have occurred due to negligence, but it can still lead to loss or harm.

Examples of Misfeasance

  1. Suppose a government official, who is responsible for enrolling students in a public school, mistakenly enrolls a student in the wrong class. As a consequence, the student misses several months of instruction due to being placed in a class that is not suitable for his or her level. This would be an instance of misfeasance.

  2. Suppose an accountant, who is responsible for maintaining the financial records of a company, mistakenly records a transaction incorrectly. As a result, the company experiences a significant financial loss. This would be another instance of misfeasance.

  3. Suppose a doctor mistakenly prescribes a medication to a patient that leads to a severe allergic reaction. This would also be an instance of misfeasance.

Legal Terms Similar to Misfeasance

  1. Nonfeasance: While misfeasance is an error or mistake while performing duties, nonfeasance is the failure to perform an obligation or duty.
  2. Malfeasance: Malfeasance, unlike misfeasance, is an intentional act, where the responsible party purposefully does something wrong to cause harm.
  3. Negligence: Negligence occurs when someone does not act with reasonable care to prevent harm to others. It is different from misfeasance because it involves an omission or failure to act rather than an incorrect action.