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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
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Posted: September 2, 2017

Claim for Money Had and Received Dismissed

On August 17, 2017, Justice Scarpulla of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in 413 W. 48th St. Housing Development Fund Corp. v. Saparn Realty, Inc., 2017 NY Slip Op. 31773(U), dismissing a claim for money had and received, explaining:

A claim for money had and received requires a showing that: (1) defendant received money belonging to plaintiff; (2) defendant benefited from the receipt of the money; and (3) under principles of good conscience defendant should not be allowed to retain that money. An action for money had and received is an obligation which the law creates in the absence of agreement when one party possesses money that in equity and good conscience he/she ought not to retain and that belongs to another.

Upon review of the evidence presented, I find that HDFC has not met its burden of establishing entitlement on the claim of money had and received as a matter of law. The evidence presented demonstrates that from May through July 2013, Sapam stole $219,068.28 from HDFC’s accounts and from June 2009 through November 2013, Saparn stole $207,011.45 from Oaks’ accounts. In May and July 2013, a total of $91,172.00 was withdrawn from HDFC’s accounts and deposited into Oaks’ accounts. In 2013, $156,469.20 was transferred out of the Oaks account and $163,767.02 was transferred into its accounts.

While HDFC has demonstrated that Oaks received money from HDFC’s account, HDFC has not made a primafacie showing that Oaks either retained or benefitted from the receipt of that money. HDFC has not provided any forensic report of its own, or any expert analysis of Oaks’ accounts. There is simply no probative evidence submitted to establish that Oaks benefitted from the receipt ofHDFC’s money, and any factual conclusion to that effect could only be made on speculation. Both parties were victims of Saparn’s fraud. Accordingly, HDFC’s claim for money had and received asserted against Oaks must be dismissed.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted).

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