Wednesday, April 30, 2014

An attorney sues for fees, claiming breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

Practice point:  A claim for unjust enrichment does not lie where it duplicates or replaces a conventional contract claimSo, the attorney cannot seek damages for unjust enrichment where, as here, the suing party has fully performed on a valid written agreement, the existence of which is undisputed, and the scope of which clearly covers the dispute between the parties. However, where there is a bona fide dispute as to the existence of a contract or the application of a contract in a dispute, a plaintiff may proceed on the theories of both quasi contract and breach of contract.

Student note:  There can be no quasi-contract claim against a third-party non-signatory to a contract that covers the subject matter of the claim.

Case:  Scarola Ellis LLP v. Padeh, NY Slip Op 02847 (1st Dept. 2014)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue: A divorce action, and a referee's overstepping his bounds.