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Commercial Division Blog

Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
New York State Courts by Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP
Posted: November 5, 2020

Where Parties Have a Contract, Unjust Enrichment Claim Must be Dismissed

On October 22, 2020, the First Department issued a decision in ECD NY Inc. v. 616 First Ave. Dev. LLC, 2020 NY Slip Op, 06013. holding that where the parties have a contract, an unjust enrichment claim must be dismissed, explaining:

The unjust enrichment claim is dismissed because the existence of a valid and enforceable written contract governing a particular subject matter ordinarily precludes recovery in quasi contract for events arising out of the same subject matter. Here, there is a detailed, 100-page written contract between plaintiff and Developer and neither side disputes its validity. Plaintiff’s unjust enrichment claim arises out of the same subject matter that is covered by the contract, which covers change orders, schedule changes, delays, out-of-sequence work, changes in site conditions, and overtime.

(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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