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Constructive trust

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Definition Edit

A constructive trust is an equitable remedy that compels the transfer of wrongfully held property to its rightful owner.[1] A plaintiff seeking imposition of a constructive trust must show: (1) the existence of a res (property or some interest in property); (2) the right to that res; and (3) the wrongful acquisition or detention of the res by another party who is not entitled to it. [2]

In general, “[t]he beneficiary of the constructive trust is entitled to enhancement in value of the trust property.”[3] This is so “not because [the beneficiary] has a substantive right to [the enhancement] but rather to prevent unjust enrichment of the wrongdoer-constructive trustee.”[4]

References Edit

  1. Communist Party v. 522 Valencia, Inc., 35 Cal.App.4th 980, 41 Cal.Rptr.2d 618, 623 (1995) (full-text); see also Cal. Civ. Code §2223 (“One who wrongfully detains a thing is an involuntary trustee thereof, for the benefit of the owner.”).
  2. Communist Party, 41 Cal.Rptr.2d at 623-24.
  3. Haskel Eng'g & Supply Co. v. Hartford Accident & Indem. Co., 78 Cal.App.3d 371, 144 Cal.Rptr. 189, 193 (1978) (full-text).
  4. Id.

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