We issued a claim against an individual for damages owed due to a breach of contract. In our client, we plead the doctrine of unjust enrichment.
Unjust enrichment is a claim which the Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant was enriched at the Plaintiff’s expense without a juristic reason for that enrichment.
In our case, the Defendant did not pay the full amount under the contract but received the full benefits of same, to the detriment of our client who was not paid in full.
To prove a claim of unjust enrichment, the Court must be satisfied that the following elements have been proven:
- The Defendant was enriched;
- As a result of the Defendant’s enrichment, there is a corresponding deprivation to the Plaintiff; and
- The absence of a juristic reason for the Defendant’s enrichment.
In our case, the Defendant received all the benefits under the contract without paying for same and was obviously enriched.
The Defendant received the benefits under the contract and the corresponding deprivation to our client was not being paid, while the Defendant enjoyed the benefits to the detriment of our client.
There was no juristic reason for the Defendant’s enrichment, meaning that there is no reason in law for the Defendant to retain the enrichment at our client’s expense.
As there was no reason at law for the Defendant to retain the benefits under the contract without paying for same, the onus shifts to the Defendant to prove why they did not have to pay our client.
If all three elements cannot be proven, then the claim for unjust enrichment will fail.
Ultimately, we were able to settle the matter to the satisfaction of our client without having to go to Trial.
Unjust enrichment is a great doctrine to rely upon in many circumstances which may help in the success of your matter. Just be sure all three elements can be proven.