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Unjust Enrichment

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In Florida, a claim for unjust enrichment requires a showing that:

  1. The plaintiff has conferred a benefit on the defendant;

  2. The defendant has knowledge of the benefit;

  3. The defendant has accepted or retained the benefit; and

  4. The circumstances are such that it would be inequitable for the defendant to retain the benefit without paying fair market value for it.

Contracts aside, in the court of equity unjust enrichment is a serious claim. A claim for unjust enrichment is a great option where there is no written contract or where the contract was not reduced to writing. The court will consider all the facts and circumstances of the matter and determine whether it would be fair to award the plaintiff restitution for the benefit conferred to the defendant.

These claims are in stark contrast to a contracts claim where the court will consider whether the contract is a basis for awarding plaintiff the relief sought. Typically, a complaint will claim unjust enrichment “in the alternative” to other contract claims, like breach of contract.

Frequently Asked Questions

Unjust enrichment occurs when one party benefits at the expense of another without a valid legal reason. In Florida, the plaintiff must show that they conferred a benefit on the defendant, the defendant knew about it, accepted it, and it would be inequitable for them to retain it without paying fair market value.

Unlike breach of contract, unjust enrichment doesn’t require a written agreement. It is often claimed “in the alternative” to contract claims and is considered in the court of equity based on fairness rather than contractual obligations.

Yes, unjust enrichment is a viable option when there is no written contract or the contract wasn’t reduced to writing. The court will consider the fairness of the situation rather than the existence of a contract.

The court will determine the fair market value of the benefit conferred and may award that amount to the plaintiff. The aim is to prevent the defendant from being unjustly enriched at the plaintiff’s expense.

The process involves filing a complaint, serving it to the defendant, and possibly going through discovery and trial. Legal representation is highly recommended to navigate the complexities of the case.

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