Unjust Enrichment Elements in Florida. Undoubtedly, no one can grow a business completely alone. A company is a direct result of a sum of ideas, products, services, and labor. In this sense, contracts are crucial to the market, as they help to ensure a business agreement is completed from start to finish.
Given that contracts are a safeguard against potential litigation, what would happen in case one of the parties involved in a business relationship incurs unjust enrichment?
In such a case, the party who has an unjust enrichment claim would seek remedy from the other party in a civil action. However, this subject may be more complex, which requires a more detailed analysis of the situation.
In this article, we compiled a guide on how to identify unjust enrichment elements in Florida.
Back to Basics – What Is Unjust Enrichment?
According to the Legal Information Institute (LII) of Cornell Law School, unjust enrichment happens when one party confers a benefit upon another party without receiving the property restitution required by law.
In layman’s terms, when a person or company benefits at the expense of a third-party without giving the proper restitution, it may provide ground for a claim for unjust enrichment in Florida. Also, according to the LII, unjust enrichment commonly occurs when one party fulfills his obligations as stated in a contract while the other party fails to fulfill its obligation.
Explaining the Concept
To facilitate understanding of this concept, we will use a hypothetical situation between two individuals, Sam and Bob.
For instance, there is a contract between Sam and Bob specifying that Sam will deliver a product/service to Bob, and in exchange, Bob will pay Sam a specified amount of money. In this situation, unjust enrichment occurs if Sam fulfills his contractual duties by delivering the product/service, but Bob fails to pay the pre-defined amount of money.
Nonetheless, a contract does not necessarily have to exist for an unjust enrichment claim to be brought forth.
Unjust Enrichment vs Gift
It is fundamental to distinguish the concept of unjust enrichment from a gift. A gift is when one party gives something to another without the expectation of any restitution or equivalent compensation.
In this case, the party who received the gift does not have any legal obligation to give something in return to the party who gave the gift.
How to Prove Unjust Enrichment- Florida Civil Law
Given that an action for unjust enrichment is not a type of criminal claim, it is unlikely that any criminal consequences will affect a party who benefits at the expense of another. It is important to notice that the law of unjust enrichment is closely related to, but not co-extensive with, the law of restitution.
Unjust enrichment is a type of civil action. Hence, the party who files an unjust enrichment claim does so to recover civil damages- reparation in the form of monetary restitution.
In such cases, the plaintiff has the burden of proof, which means it is necessary to demonstrate that the defendant benefited at the plaintiff’s expense.
Unjust Enrichment Elements in Florida
As provided by Florida law, the main elements that constitute a ground for a claim of unjust enrichment in Florida are:
- The plaintiff has conferred a benefit on the defendant, who has knowledge thereof.
- The defendant voluntarily accepts and retains the benefit conferred.
- The circumstances are such that it would be inequitable for the defendant to retain the benefit without paying the value thereof to the plaintiff.
In this sense, there are situations in which there is no ground for a claim of unjust enrichment, such as:
- In case the plaintiff bestowed the benefit on the defendant as a gift (as explained before).
- In case the defendant did not have the choice or option to reject the benefit conferred by the plaintiff.
As it is plain to see, identifying a situation in which a claim of unjust enrichment is solid requires an expert approach. We recommend you consult with a seasoned attorney in Florida to bring forth your action within the statute of limitations.
For those unaware, the statute of limitations is a law that sets the deadline that parties have to initiate legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense. In this case, the statute of limitations for a claim of unjust enrichment in Florida is four years.
Do You Have a Claim for Unjust Enrichment? – We Can Help You
Get in touch with a skilled and experienced Florida business attorney from Jurado & Farshchian, P.L. today. Call (305) 921-0440 or email Romy@jflawfirm.com to schedule an initial consultation.