Businesses profit, gain, and grow as a result of the exchange of monies, ideas, products, services, or a combination of the above with other parties.
Often times, these exchanges are specified in contractual terms – i.e. a seller provides a product to a buyer in exchange for monetary compensation.
While the terms of a contract and an exchange are typically carried out in a manner that is just and fair, if not beneficial, for all parties involved in the exchange, sometimes unjust enrichment occurs.
When one party believes that they have an unjust enrichment claim, they maintain the right to seek remedy from the other party in a civil action.
Our unjust enrichment lawyers in Florida at the law office of BrewerLong can assist you in understanding the elements of an unjust enrichment claim and how to bring forth a successful claim.
What Is Unjust Enrichment in Florida?
When one party benefits at the expense of another, they may have a claim for unjust enrichment. Florida unjust enrichment occurs when one party “confers a benefit upon” another party without “receiving the proper restitution required by law,” as defined by the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School.
It is important that unjust enrichment is distinguished from a gift, which is where one party gives something to another without the expectation of restitution or compensation. When a gift is given, the party who receives the gift has no legal obligation to give something in return.
According to the same source cited above, unjust enrichment typically occurs when one party fulfills their obligations in a contract and the other party fails to fulfill their obligation.
For example, if a contract exists between Party A and Party B that specifies that Party A will deliver goods to Party B, and in exchange, Party B will pay Party A a specified sum, unjust enrichment occurs when Party A delivers the goods, but Party B fails to offer Party A the amount of money stated in the contract.
However, a contract does not have to exist for an unjust enrichment claim to be brought forth.
Proving Unjust Enrichment – Florida Civil Law
An unjust enrichment action is not a type of criminal claim, and therefore, there are rarely criminal consequences imposed on a party who benefits at the expense of another. Instead, unjust enrichment is a type of civil action, and therefore, a party who files an unjust enrichment claim does so for the purpose of recovering civil damages (restitution in the form of monetary damages).
In order to win a claim of unjust enrichment, the plaintiff, who has the burden of proof, must demonstrate that the defendant benefited–was “unjustly enriched” –at the plaintiff’s expense. The elements that must be established to prove this include:
- The plaintiff conferred a benefit on the defendant;
- The defendant either accepted the benefit voluntarily without coercion or requested the benefit;
- The defendant did not pay or otherwise offer the plaintiff compensation for the benefit conferred; and
- The flow of benefit to the defendant without recompense to the plaintiff is deemed inequitable.
Again, an unjust enrichment claim does not exist if the plaintiff bestowed the benefit on the defendant as a gift. Another bar to an unjust enrichment claim exists in the event that the defendant did not have a choice or option to reject the benefit.
Unjust Enrichment Florida Statute of Limitations
If you believe that you have an unjust enrichment claim in Florida, it is important that you consult with a qualified attorney as soon as possible and that you bring forth your action within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for an action of unjust enrichment in Florida is four years.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Lawyer Today
If you provide a benefit, service, or product to another party, you maintain the right to be compensated fairly and equitably for that benefit.
If you are wrongfully denied the benefit that you deserve, you may have an unjust enrichment claim. Our unjust enrichment Florida lawyers at the office of BrewerLong are prepared to build your case and represent you in your claim for restitution.
Please contact us online or by phone to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can be of service.