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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
New York State Courts by Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP
Posted: June 11, 2021

Unjust Enrichment and Breach of Contract Claims Not Duplicative When There is a Question of Fact Regarding the Existence of a Contract

On May 27, 2021, the First Department issued a decision in CIP GP 2018, LLC v. Koplewicz, 2021 NY Slip Op. 03370, holding that unjust enrichment and breach of contract claims are not duplicative when there is a question of fact regarding the existence of a contract, explaining:

With respect to the unjust enrichment claim, plaintiff alleges that the services it provided went beyond the mere negotiation of a business opportunity and, therefore, the claim is not precluded under the statute of frauds as embodied in General Obligations Law ยง 5-701(a)(10). These claims should not have been dismissed as duplicative because where there is a bona fide dispute as to the existence of a contract or the application of a contract in the dispute in issue, a plaintiff may proceed upon a theory of quasi contract as well as breach of contract, and will not be required to elect his or her remedies.

(Internal quotations and citations omitted).

Unjust enrichment is a common claim in commercial litigation. It is used when there was not a contract between the litigants, but the defendant received an unfair benefit at the plaintiff’s expense. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at jlundin@schlamstone.com if you or a client have questions regarding whether you have, or are the subject of, a claim for unjust enrichment.

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