What is a constructive trust?

Constructive Trust Defined

“A constructive trust is an equitable remedy to prevent unjust enrichment and to enforce restitution, under which one who wrongfully acquires property of another holds it involuntarily as a constructive trustee.” (Haskel Engineering & Supply Co. v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co. (1978) 78 Cal.App.3d 371, 375.) “The trust extends to property acquired in exchange for that wrongfully taken.” (Id.)

“A constructive trust is an equitable remedy, not a cause of action in and of itself, which can be imposed against one who wrongfully detains a thing by fraud, accident, mistake, undue influence, the violation of a trust, or other wrongful act.” (See Civ. Code, Secs. 2223 and 2224; see also Habitat Trust for Wildlife, Inc. v. City of Rancho Cucamonga (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 1306, 1332; PCO, Inc. v. Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro, LLP (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 384, 398; Meister v. Mensinger (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 381, 399.)

Requirements for the Imposition of a Constructive Trust

“A cause of action seeking to impose a constructive trust will generally be allowed so long as it is predicated upon an underlying claim of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, or other wrongful act entitling the plaintiff to some relief.” (See Ehret v. Ichioka (1967) 247 Cal.App.2d 637, 642; see also Michaelian v. State Comp. Ins. Fund (1996) 50 Cal.App.4th 1093, 1114 stating “[a] cause of action for constructive trust is not based on the establishment of a trust, but consists of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty or other act which entitles the plaintiff to some relief. Relief, in a proper case, may be to make the defendant a constructive trustee with a duty to transfer to the plaintiff.) (Id.)

Pleading Requirements:

The required elements are:

  1. facts constituting the underlying cause of action, and
  2. specific identifiable property to which defendant has title.”.

(Id.)

Constructive Fraud as Underlying Cause Supporting Constructive Trust Remedy

Where Plaintiff asserts that the underlying wrongful act is Defendant’s alleged constructive fraud, however, Plaintiff does not allege sufficient facts to state a claim for constructive fraud: “[c]onstructive fraud is a unique species of fraud applicable only to a fiduciary or confidential relationship... [c]onstructive fraud arises on a breach of duty by one in a confidential or fiduciary relationship to another which induces justifiable reliance by the latter to his prejudice.” (Prakashpalan v. Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 1105, 1131, internal citation and quotation marks omitted; Feeney v. Howard (1889) 79 Cal. 525, 529; Peterson Dev. Co. v. Torrey Pines Bank (1991) 233 Cal.App.3d 103, 116 stating “[i]t is essential to the operation of the doctrine of constructive fraud there exists a fiduciary or special relationship”.) Thus, [Where] [t]here are no allegations in the FAC establishing that Plaintiff and Defendant had a fiduciary or confidential relationship... [p]laintiff fails to allege sufficient facts to state a claim for constructive trust and/or constructive fraud.) (Id.)

Useful Resources for Constructive Trust

Recent Rulings on Constructive Trust

126-150 of 1891 results

DAVID AZIZI VS. BEHNAM RAFALIAN, ET AL.

On November 6, 2006, judgment was entered in favor of Ely and a constructive trust was imposed on Rafalian to safeguard Ely’s 50% ownership in the property (“Carson Judgment”). The judgment was affirmed on appeal. On February 29, 2012, Ely assigned his interest to Azizi, as trustee. On November 30, 2017, Rafalian conveyed the property to Carson LP without Azizi’s knowledge. Rafalian is a partner in Carson LP and owns a 79.20% interest. The general partner in Carson LP is Carson LLC.

  • Hearing

    Oct 01, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

  • Judge

    Maurice A. Leiter or Salvatore Sirna

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

INEST THACKER VS. BYRON HALCROMB, ET AL.

The Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) alleges the following causes of action: (1) Elder Abuse; (2) Fraud; (3) Rescission and Cancellation of Grant Deed Based on Fraud and Lack of Consideration; (4) Fraudulent Conveyance; (5) Quiet Title; (6) Constructive Trust; (7) Resulting Trust; (8) Declaratory Relief. Defendants Michael Reyes and Charity Mostafa move separately for their requests for admission, set two, to be admitted. The motions are unopposed.

  • Hearing

    Oct 01, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    other

  • Judge

    Maurice A. Leiter or Salvatore Sirna

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

CARR V. RODRIGUEZ

(Id. at 134-5) “Clearly, the equitable remedy of constructive trust would be ineffectual if the trustee were permitted to defeat recovery by wrongfully permitting the res to be dissipated. Similarly, the remedy of constructive trust is defeated if plaintiffs are unable to trace the trust property into its succeeding transfigurements." (Id. at 136.) But here, the asset to be placed in constructive trust is not the “res” that was allegedly taken from the Plaintiff.

  • Hearing

    Oct 01, 2020

DEA LATIS V. RICH HOWE

Dea Latis, a partnership (“Plaintiff”) filed this action for fraud, unfair business practices, and constructive trust against Rich Howe (“Defendant”), on January 28, 2019. Defendant filed his answer on April 4, 2019. The parties mediated on February 27, 2020 but were unable to come to a settlement. (Gentry Decl., ¶ 4.) Plaintiff now moves, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure sections 473 and 576, for leave to file a first amended complaint (“FAC”).

  • Hearing

    Oct 01, 2020

MOLINA VS MADJLESSI

A constructive trust is a remedy rather than a cause of action. (Stansfield v. Starkey (1990) 220 Cal. App. 3d 59, 76.) Plaintiff may file and serve an amended complaint within 10 days of the final ruling.

  • Hearing

    Oct 01, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

THEE AGUILA INC. VS BLACKWOOD, ET AL.

The FAC alleges eight (8) causes of action: (1) breach of oral contract; (2) breach of fiduciary duty; (3) fraud and deceit; (4) intentional misrepresentation; (5) unfair business practices; (6) intentional interference with prospective relations; (7) intentional interference with contractual relations, and (8) constructive trust. The 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 8th causes of action are asserted against Defendants. The 2nd and 5th causes of action are asserted against all named defendants.

  • Hearing

    Oct 01, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

  • Judge

    Lori Ann Fournier or Olivia Rosales

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

DR JERROLD S DREYER MD ET AL VS JM CAPITAL INVESTMENTS LLC E

The operative First Amended Cross-Complaint (“FACC”) states eight causes of action for: 1) fraud; 2) fraud; 3) breach of fiduciary duty; 4) conversion; 5) conspiracy; 6) equitable indemnity; 7) declaratory relief; and 8) accounting/constructive trust. On September 4, 2020, Macias’s counsel Diane Goldman, Esq. (“Counsel”) filed the instant motion to be relieved. No opposition was filed.

  • Hearing

    Oct 01, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

CU V. HO

The complaint contains causes of action for: (1) breach of contract; (2) specific performance, constructive trust, injunction, accounting; (3) fraud and conspiracy; (4) breach of fiduciary duty; and (5) declaratory relief. Here, there is no written contract between Plaintiff and Defendant (Hai Ho). (Complaint, ¶¶ 12-31.) Defendant states Plaintiff “. . . ran out of money and was unable to complete the development of the restaurant . . .

  • Hearing

    Sep 30, 2020

ROGER JAMES SAYEGH VS LEONID KAMENETSKY, ET AL.

Ninth Cause of Action (Constructive Trust). [A] constructive trust requires "money or property identified as belonging in good conscience to the plaintiff [which can] clearly be traced to particular funds or property in the defendant's possession." ( Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Co. v. Knudson (2002) 534 U.S. 204 , 213 [151 L. Ed. 2d 635, 122 S. Ct. 708].) (Korea Supply Co. v. Lockheed Martin Corp. (2003) 29 Cal.4th 1134, 1150.)

  • Hearing

    Sep 30, 2020

BARBARA GATLIN VS DELLITA JOHNSON ET AL

The operative SAC alleges causes of action for: (1) fraudulent transfer, (2) common law fraud and (3) constructive trust. The proof of service shows it was served by mail and electronic service on Johnson and on Johnson, Member/Manager of D. However, D had not appeared as of that time, so that service was ineffective.

  • Hearing

    Sep 29, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

SIEGELMAN VS BARBER

The Complaint in this action was filed on January 19, 2018 and seeks the repayment of $39,415, as well as an accounting and the imposition of a constructive trust. It is solely an action for money, and the constructive trust cause of action is simply a collateral means to collect money damages. Although the Complaint alleges Defendant Salimi acquired the 4885 Narragansett Avenue property at below market price, Plaintiff does not claim an ownership interest in the property.

  • Hearing

    Sep 28, 2020

  • Type

    Contract

  • Sub Type

    Breach

SIEGELMAN VS BARBER

The Complaint in this action was filed on January 19, 2018 and seeks the repayment of $39,415, as well as an accounting and the imposition of a constructive trust. It is solely an action for money, and the constructive trust cause of action is simply a collateral means to collect money damages. Although the Complaint alleges Defendant Salimi acquired the 4885 Narragansett Avenue property at below market price, Plaintiff does not claim an ownership interest in the property.

  • Hearing

    Sep 28, 2020

  • Type

    Contract

  • Sub Type

    Breach

ALFRED O ANYIA VS JOSE R WONG, ET AL.

Plaintiff filed the original Complaint on December 09, 2019, and the First Amended Complaint ("FAC") on August 10, 2020, alleging nine (9) causes of action sounding in (1) Breach of Written Agreement, (2) Enforcement of Attorney’s Lien, (3) Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, (4) Civil Conspiracy, (5) Fraud, (6) Equitable Lien, (7) Constructive Trust, (8) Negligence, and (9) Negligent Hiring.

  • Hearing

    Sep 25, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

HOVIK GRIGORIAN, ET AL VS. FELIX LOPEZ, ET AL

The Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”), alleges causes of action for: (1) specific performance; (2) breach of contract; (3) conversion; (4) constructive trust; (5) fraud; (6) breach of fiduciary duty; (7) negligence; (8) IIED; (9) money had and received; (10) rescission of contract; and (11) declaratory relief. Cross-Complainants Felix Lopez and Luis Rodriguez (“Cross-Complainants”) allege that on November 18, 2015, the Court entered judgment in Rodriguez v. Secret Recipes in LASC Case No.

  • Hearing

    Sep 25, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

ESTATE OF LAURENCE O PILGERAM

In the prayer for relief, Alcor asks for “appointment of a private professional fiduciary to collect and safeguard, all property received from Estate funds pursuant to the Final Order of Distribution in a constructive trust for the Estate’s benefit pending a new probate distribution.”

  • Hearing

    Sep 24, 2020

MADDOX VS MADDOX

Finally, Tina argues the fourth cause of action for constructive trust fails because it is based on the first, second, and third causes of action, which fail. As the other causes of action do not fail, this argument fails. The demurrer is overruled./n [1] The parties are referred to herein by their first names not out of disrespect but for the sake of clarity.

  • Hearing

    Sep 24, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    other

CURTIS R. OLSON VS VIDALA AARONOFF, ET AL.

On July 15, 2020, Olson filed the operative First Amended Complaint (“FAC”), which asserts causes of action for (1) voidable transfer based actual intent, (2) voidable transfer during or resulting in insolvency, (3) voidable transfer based upon lack of equivalent value, (4) fraud on creditors, (5) declaratory relief, (6) constructive trust, (7) cancellation of written instruments, (8) aiding and abetting violations of the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act, (9) Penal Code § 496, and (10) unjust enrichment.

  • Hearing

    Sep 24, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

MADDOX VS MADDOX

Finally, Tina argues the fourth cause of action for constructive trust fails because it is based on the first, second, and third causes of action, which fail. As the other causes of action do not fail, this argument fails. The demurrer is overruled./n [1] The parties are referred to herein by their first names not out of disrespect but for the sake of clarity.

  • Hearing

    Sep 24, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    other

MADDOX VS MADDOX

Finally, Tina argues the fourth cause of action for constructive trust fails because it is based on the first, second, and third causes of action, which fail. As the other causes of action do not fail, this argument fails. The demurrer is overruled./n [1] The parties are referred to herein by their first names not out of disrespect but for the sake of clarity.

  • Hearing

    Sep 24, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    other

MARGARET LAROQUE VS. CHRISTINE LAROCQUE FRANZ, ET AL

Laroque, her Attorney in Fact filed a complaint against Christine Larocque Franz, Dale Franz, and Dragon Lady Properties, LLC for Financial Abuse, Accounting, and Imposition of a Constructive Trust. Plaintiff alleges her daughter, Defendant Christine Franz, offered to take care of plaintiffs if she agreed to move to Florida and live with Defendants Christine and Dale.

  • Hearing

    Sep 23, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

  • Judge

    Paul A. Bacigalupo or Virginia Keeny

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

TIBURON/BELVEDERE RESIDENTS TO SUPPORT TRAILS VS. BARRI KAPLAN BONAPART, ET AL

Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, this court’s ruling on the motion to quash, which Lukens chose not to take issue with, would have no effect on the effectiveness of Lukens’s appeal and would in no way directly or indirectly 1 Bonapart’s cross-complaint includes the following causes of action: (1) breach of contract; (2) constructive trust (Trust only); (3) common count (Trust only); (4) intentional misrepresentation (Lukens only); (5) negligent misrepresentation (Lukens only); and (6) declaratory relief

  • Hearing

    Sep 23, 2020

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY VS. LETSGOEXPO, INC., ET AL

On November 3, 2011, Plaintiff filed its complaint for breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, conversion, constructive trust, fraud, common counts and money had and received. On January 6, 2012, Plaintiff filed a notice of settlement relative to Lipschultz. The court entered a joint judgment against Lipschultz and LetsGoExpo for $339,871.50 on April 17, 2012. On May 16, 2019, Plaintiff filed a notice of partial satisfaction of judgment acknowledging payment of $209,000.

  • Hearing

    Sep 22, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

ALCOR LIFE EXTENSION FOUNDATION VS KARL E PILGERAM ET AL

Alcor has asked the probate court not only to set aside its Final Distribution Order, but to place all property of the decedent into a constructive trust pending a new probate proceeding to determine Mr. Pilgeram’s testamentary intent. Benjamin argues that resolution of Alcor’s probate petition will have no effect on his right to continue to pursue his claims against Alcor as Kurt’s successor-in-interest.

  • Hearing

    Sep 18, 2020

  • Judge Donna Geck
  • County

    Santa Barbara County, CA

LUKE YUGUANG VS AMERICAN NEW ERA TV MEDIA GROUP INC

Constructive Trust To establish a claim for constructive trust, Plaintiff must show: (1) wrongful act (underlying claim incorporated into the cause of action); (2) specific, identifiable property or property interest, or excuse for inability to describe it; (3) plaintiff’s right to the property; and (4) defendant has title thereto. (Stansfield v. Starkey (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 59, 76.) However, it should also be noted that constructive trust is not a cause of action, but a remedy. (Batt v.

  • Hearing

    Sep 18, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

MARIA CARMEN LEAL VS. NELLY DAGSTANYAN

The second amended complaint, filed June 22, 2018 in the EC064805 action, alleges causes of action for: (1) fraudulent transfer of real property under the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act (“UVTA”) against Grant Dagstanyan, Nelly Dagstanyan, Aresen Stepanyan, Maro Haroutunian, Marika Bastramajian, and Andranik Aleksayan; (2) fraudulent transfer of corporate property and assets under the UVTA against Grant Dagstanyan, Nelly Dagstanyan and Khachig Mestchyan; (3) constructive trust against Grant Dagstanyan, Nelly

  • Hearing

    Sep 18, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

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