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

151-175 of 1884 results

MARC A. LAROCQUE VS. CHRISTINE LAROCQUE FRANZ, ET AL

After the court sustained a demurrer against Plaintiff’s complaint on June 28, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Third Amended Complaint (TAC), alleging: 1) Breach of Written Contract; 2) Breach of Fiduciary Duty; 3) Breach of Partnership Agreement; 4) Accounting; 5) Imposition of a Constructive Trust; and 6) Declaratory Relief/Quiet Title and Avoidance of Fraudulent Transfers.

  • Hearing

    Sep 16, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    other

  • Judge

    Paul A. Bacigalupo or Virginia Keeny

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

NATALIE LEE VS YILING MA

On June 13, 2018, Plaintiff commenced this action for: (1) breach of promissory note, (2) breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, (3) fraud, (4) promissory estoppel, (5) unjust enrichment/restitution, and (6) constructive trust/declaratory relief. Plaintiff filed proof of service of the summons on September 7, 2018. Default was entered against Defendant on September 7, 2018. On March 15, 2019, the Court granted Defendant’s motion to vacate the default and to quash service of summons.

  • Hearing

    Sep 16, 2020

  • Type

    Collections

  • Sub Type

    Promisory Note

  • Judge Elaine Lu
  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

HOME COMFORTS, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION VS PRESTON HUNTER

In the operative Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”), filed July 10, 2019, Plaintiffs allege 14 causes of action: (1) breach of contract, (2) breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, (3) negligent misrepresentation, (4) intentional misrepresentation, (5) fraudulent concealment, (6) fraud, (7) violation of Business and Professions Code § 17200, (8) money had and received, (9) constructive trust, (10) conversion, (11) breach of fiduciary duty, (12) intentional interference with prospective economic

  • Hearing

    Sep 16, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

BEDIRIAN ENTERPRISES, INC. VS LEONID KAMENETSKY, ET AL.

The FAC asserts causes of action for (1) breach of residential purchase agreements, (2) breach of deed of trust and straight note and foreclosure on deed of trust, (3) breach of real estate agency agreement, (4) breach of fiduciary duty, (5) breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, (6) specific performance, (7) rescission and restitution, (8) fraud, (9) constructive trust, (10) equitable lien, (11) unjust enrichment, (12) quiet title, (13) negligence, (14) unfair business practices, (15) declaratory

  • Hearing

    Sep 16, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

IN RE THE SYLVIA JUNE ASAVIS TRUST DATED MAY 22, 2015

If the Atascadero Property is sold prior to the instant ex parte application being heard, to impose a constructive trust over the proceeds. Now before the Court is Plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction. Legal Authority.

  • Hearing

    Sep 16, 2020

AGILECAP, LLC VS AI LING LEE, ET AL.

Conversion Unjust Enrichment Constructive Trust On April 8, 2020, Jubilee’s and Ling’s defaults were entered. A Case Management Conference is set for September 16, 2020. 1. Deem Requests for Admissions Admitted Re: Lee Legal Standard A response to requests for admission is due 30 days after service. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.250, subd. (a).)

  • Hearing

    Sep 16, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

CRITICAL MIND INC ET AL VS BRYON RUSSELL ET AL

On December 3, 2018, Russell filed a Cross-Complaint (“XC”) against CM, SBGC, Vodnoy, and Gene Joseph Stonebarger (“Stonebarger,” and collectively, “Cross-Defendants”), alleging two causes of action: Accounting Unjust enrichment and for a constructive trust On July 15, 2019, this Court overruled a demurrer by Cross-Defendants to the Cross-Complaints. On December 2, 2019, Cross-Defendants filed an Answer to the Cross-Complaint.

  • Hearing

    Sep 15, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

DRAKE KENNEDY, ET AL. VS BRIAN KENNEDY, ET AL.

The operative pleading is the First Amended Cross-Complaint (“FACC”) filed on July 29, 2019, which alleges causes of action for: (1) breach of fiduciary duty, (2) breach of contract, (3) declaratory relief, (4) removal of Drake as Director, (5) intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, (6) negligent interference with prospective economic advantage, (7) quantum meruit, (8) constructive trust, and (9) declaratory relief. 3.

  • Hearing

    Sep 15, 2020

RICHARD KUEHNE VS DANNY LEE ROWLETT, JR, ET AL.

On June 7, 2019 and October 30, 2019, Plaintiff filed a verified complaint and verified first amended complaint for Breach of Contract, Fraud, Set Aside Fraudulent Transfer, and Injunction and Constructive Trust. On June 12, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Pendency of Action. On January 23, 2020, Henry D. Paloci, III, Trustee of Alliance Holding Trust, filed a cross-complaint for interpleader.

  • Hearing

    Sep 15, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

NORTH KERN WATER STORAGE DISTRICT VS CITY OF BAKERSFIELD

The Court intends to deny North Kern's request for a constructive trust. The court intends to issue an OSC re: contempt but deny Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant North Kern Water Storage District's Motion for Monetary Relief from City of Bakersfield's Violations of the Judgment.

  • Hearing

    Sep 11, 2020

FELIPE BARRERA VS NATIVIDAD CELAYA, ET AL.

In reply, Boulevard contends that the allegations in the complaint establish that the property is not subject to a constructive trust by continuing to refer to the trust as an “oral” trust, despite the fact that the complaint never refers to the trust as an oral trust. Boulevard then argues that the property is not subject to a constructive trust because Celaya, the person holding title to the property, did not acquire it wrongfully. (See Reply p.2:13-17).

  • Hearing

    Sep 11, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

KAI HOU LIANG VS JI LI

A constructive trust is imposed in favor of Plaintiff Kai Hou Liang against Defendant Ji Li on all assets and equity of Hollywood Garden, LLC acquired by Defendant Ji Li (collectively, the ‘Property’). The Property is ordered transferred to Plaintiff Kai Hou Liang effective as of the date of this Judgment. The imposition of this constructive trust is intended to prevent the unjust enrichment of Defendant Ji Li; 3.

  • Hearing

    Sep 11, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA VS. RUBIN

Allstate prays for the imposition of a constructive trust to transfer money back to the insurers Rubin allegedly defrauded. (Compl., p. 18.) Had Strathmann sought such a trust in his case, he would not have benefited personally—he was employed by the insured, and a constructive trust would have sent money back to the insurer. But here, if a constructive trust were imposed, Allstate would benefit directly from the trust in a way the general public does not.

  • Hearing

    Sep 11, 2020

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, EX REL. STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY VS VIKRAM J. SINGH, M.D., ET AL.

Further, Plaintiff does not merely seek the "bounty" described by the Strahmann court, but also several forms of equitable relief, including a constructive trust and equitable lien against Defendants' assets, an order declaring that Defendants are not entitled to payment for false and fraudulent claims (including those submitted to State Farm), and an injunction against each of the Defendants from any further violations. (Complaint, ¶¶ 25, 112, 115, 116, 118, 121, 122.)

  • Hearing

    Sep 11, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

CHUN IL CHO ET AL VS HUN SUNG PARK ET AL

On March 27, 2020, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) against Defendant alleging causes of action for: Enforcement of Constructive Trust; Accounting; Declaratory Relief; Fraud. On November 13, 2019, the Court of Appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part the court’s judgment: allowing KAPC to amend its complaint, but affirmed dismissal of KAPC’s trademark claims on the ground that the settlement agreement barred the claims.

  • Hearing

    Sep 10, 2020

COLEMAN VS BOOTH

He does indicate that he is seeking a constructive trust. However, a constructive trust is a remedy. Burlesci v. Petersen (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 1062, 1069. It cannot exist on its own. As such, the Court sustains the demurrer with 20 days leave to amend.

  • Hearing

    Sep 10, 2020

REED VS BRADLEY

Starkey (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 59, 73) JOP to the remaining causes of action for constructive trust, injunctive relief and unjust enrichment is denied. Plaintiff may file an amended complaint to correct the deficiencies stated in this ruling by September 25, 2020.

  • Hearing

    Sep 10, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    other

LAWERENCE EBER VS VETERANS CARE COORDINATION, LLC., A MISSOURI LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, ET AL.

Ninth Cause of Action for Accounting and Constructive Trust Defendants contend the claim for constructive trust fails because the substantive claims upon which the remedy are based fail. Per the above analysis, the substantive claims stand, and therefore the remedial relief claim remains. Defendants contend the request for an accounting fails for the same reason.

  • Hearing

    Sep 10, 2020

  • Type

    Other

  • Sub Type

    Intellectual Property

REED VS BRADLEY

Starkey (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 59, 73) JOP to the remaining causes of action for constructive trust, injunctive relief and unjust enrichment is denied. Plaintiff may file an amended complaint to correct the deficiencies stated in this ruling by September 25, 2020.

  • Hearing

    Sep 10, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    other

CESARE VIETINA VS SECURITY PACIFIC ASSOCIATES INC ET AL

The Buyout FAC asserts causes of action for (1) involuntary dissolution, (2) breach of written contract, (3) constructive trust, (4) breach of fiduciary duty, (5) fraud, (6) breach of fiduciary duty, (7) accounting of SPA, and (8) accounting of Madu. On March 20, 2019, the Court granted SPA’s motion to stay the proceedings and appoint appraisers for the purpose of ascertaining the fair value of Plaintiff’s shares in the corporation.

  • Hearing

    Sep 08, 2020

THOMAS K. WILLIAMS, TRUSTEE OF THE VICTOR J., TAYLOR, JR. LIVING TRUST AND ATTORNEY IN FACT FOR VICTOR J. TAYLOR, JR. VS KERRY KRISTINE KOST

Furthermore, although a constructive trust is a remedy and not a cause of action, Plaintiff may plead the remedy. (Glue-Fold, Inc. v. Slautterback Corp. (2000) 82 Cal. App. 4th 1018, 1023.) Thus, the Clerk is ordered to strike the title, “4th Cause of Action” and ¶ 26 by interlineation, and merge 27-29 paragraphs with the Third Cause of Action for Cancellation of Instrument. As stricken, demurrer is OVERRULED.

  • Hearing

    Sep 08, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    Quiet Title

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.

  • Hearing

    Sep 08, 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 08, 2020

DRAKE KENNEDY, ET AL. VS BRIAN KENNEDY, ET AL.

On April 8, 2019, Brian Kennedy (“Brian”) filed a cross-complaint alleging ten causes of actions: (1) Breach of Fiduciary Duty; (2) Breach of Contract; (3) Declaratory Relief; (4) Removal of Drake Kennedy as Director; (5) Financial Elder Abuse; (6) Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage; (7) Negligent Interference with Economic Advantage; (8) Quantum Meruit; (9) Constructive Trust and (10) Declaratory Relief.

  • Hearing

    Sep 08, 2020

LOPEZ VS. LOPEZ WEST PROPERTIES

The constructive trust cause of action more clearly pertains directly to what plaintiff says are funds held by his brothers or the company. The breach of fiduciary claim is based on the same issue, but it also alleges that the brothers have mismanaged the company.

  • Hearing

    Sep 04, 2020

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