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What is the best way to defend against "unjust enrichment"?


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The doctrine of unjust enrichment is an equitable concept created to remedy injustices that occur where one person makes a substantial contribution to the property of another person without compensation.

Unjust enrichment arises when three elements are satisfied: an enrichment; a corresponding deprivation; and an absence of juristic reason for the enrichment. When a claimant is under no obligation contractual, statutory or otherwise to provide the work and services to the recipient, there will be an absence of juristic reasons for the enrichment.

To show that the enrichment was unjust, the provider of the benefits must reasonably expect to be compensated, and the recipients of the benefits must know or ought to have known of that reasonable expectation.

Burden of proof would be on the plaintiffs shoulders. They would have to prove that you knew or should have known that the other party would expect to be paid. And they need to prove that they did indeed mske s substantial contribution and they were not compensated.

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The reason you see the unjust enrichment claim in credit card lawsuits is that it is a fall back position they rely upon in the event they can't prove they had a binding, enforceable contract with you. Even if there was no contract, if they can prove that you used the card and didn't pay, then they can claim you were unjustly enriched. This is based upon the assumption that even without a bindng, enforceable contract, you still knew there was an expectation that you would pay them, and they relied upon that expectation.

This cause of action helps them deal with all of the over confident pro se defendants who think they can easily win one of these cases just because they never signed a contract.

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Even if there was no contract, if they can prove that you used the card and didn't pay, then they can claim you were unjustly enriched.

Is the plaintiff the OC or a JDB? I think it matters. The OC would have an easier time showing that you were enriched at their expense. But the JDB, they weren't damaged by you at all. They assumed the debt, that was their dumb idea. I can't see how a JDB could ever use unjust enrichment, you weren't enriched at their expense, even if it were true...

notagain xxheartxx

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mine from a jdb says unjust enrichment also they sent nothing with my summons have a pre trial soon. my friend also recieved a summons same thing just a terms of of credit card could have got it anywhere no signed papers for anything they are hoping we don't show. nothing on her credit report going to court with her for trial next week.

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This is based upon the assumption that even without a bindng, enforceable contract, you still knew there was an expectation that you would pay them, and they relied upon that expectation.

In one of my earlier posts, I said that I would rather admit to the existence of a contract, close the door on the unjust enrichment angle, and make the collector show proper assignment, etc. Seems an equity claim might give the judge a little more flexibility to overlook certain things, to the detriment of the debtor, that otherwise might not work in the creditors favor. What do you think?

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Nascar, what would a judge NEED to see to detertmine 'proper assignment'?? I completely agree with you in that there is far less wiggle room in that defense than any defense based on equity- or like you said in a post some weeks ago, any defense based on the assumption or denial of the existence of a contract. I have read case law though that asserted that the obvious lack of agreement on consideration proves that there is no contract.

I would really like to know what a judge would need to see from the plaintiff to determine proper assignment or ownership-- thanks.

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I have read case law though that asserted that the obvious lack of agreement on consideration proves that there is no contract.

The thing is, I don't think it matters that you had a contract with the original creditor. They're no longer the ones pursuing you for money. What matters, it that the assignee is not able to show an effective transfer of rights necessary to collect on the debt.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Orignal post by: notagain

... But the JDB, they weren't damaged by you at all. They assumed the debt, that was their dumb idea. I can't see how a JDB could ever use unjust enrichment, you weren't enriched at their expense, even if it were true...

Original post by: nascar

What matters, it that the assignee is not able to show an effective transfer of rights necessary to collect on the debt.

So...isn't this the right Defense?

Plaintiff admits to purchasing the defaulted debt allegedly owned by the Defendant, causing Plaintiff's injury to its own self, therefore Plaintiff is barred from seeking relief for damages.

The JDB knows that it does not stand a chance in court against a well-informed consumer when it first purchases the pandora's box of junk debts. It anticipates damage (court costs, statute fines, etc.) from sophisticated consumers but expects to manhandle enough LSC's for a greater profit.

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