Unjust Enrichment/ Restitution Question

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Unjust Enrichment/ Restitution Question

Postby SupraVln180 » Thu Sep 29, 2011 7:39 pm

For my contracts class, I have been building my outline heavily off the E&E, where it defines unjust enrichment simply as when: one person confers a benefit to another, they know of this benefit and have accepted or retained it and the circumstances are such that it would be inequitable (unjust) for that person to retain the benefit w/o paying for it.

I understand Unjust Enrichment is the cause of action and Restitution is the remedy, but my teacher refers to everything as Restitution and only refers to it in a context in which someone is in imminent peril and you save them, then ask to be compensated. Every single hypo in class has been something like that and moreover, the restatement definition is:

A person who has supplied things or services to another, although acting without the other’s knowledge or consent is entitled to restitution therefor from the other if:
1. He acted unofficiously and with intent to charge therefor
2. The things or services were necessary to prevent the other from suffering serious bodily harm or injury
3. The person supplying them had no reason to know the other would no consent to receiving them, if mentally competent
4. It was impossible or the other to give consent or because of extreme youth or mental impairment, the other’s consent would have been immaterial

So, the question is, WTF am I supposed to know? And can someone give me a clearer picture on Unjust Enrichment and Restitution? Does it only apply to situations when someone is in some kind of danger? I feel like that can't be right, but its how my teacher describes it and what it seems like the restatement says.

Also, my contracts teacher came to my school a year ago and taught at GULC before that, so if anyone had Kaveny for contracts at GULC PM me.

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Re: Unjust Enrichment/ Restitution Question

Postby rganders » Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:52 pm

The theory of restitution is a large area of contract law that one can spend an entire semester learning. It applies to much more situations than the E&E covers.

For example, imagine that a man bargains for a contract with an estranged lover offering a payment of $500 per month in exchange for her not suing him for child support. This bargain is entirely enforceable under the doctrine of consideration. A year goes by and the man learns that the baby is not his. The contract is still enforceable because at the time the man made the bargain, he reasonably believed that the woman was giving up a legal right to sue.

However, the man may go to court and argue for restitution; unjust enrichment. This does not fall into the restatement definition of restitution but he may be able to convince a judge somewhere that he is owed restitution. (probably not though, since courts generally take the position of upholding bargained for contracts, even extremely bad ones)

Your professor (and mine) are always talking about restitution because one can always make the argument for a little restitution.

You're on the right track though. Most restitution problems will either be about officious intermeddlers or doctors performing surgery on unconscious patients. Just know that some courts are beginning to recognize the restitution interest more as a way of dealing with bad, but legally enforceable contracts.

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Re: Unjust Enrichment/ Restitution Question

Postby SupraVln180 » Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:00 pm

Perfect. Thank you.

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