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

201-225 of 1891 results

ALEXANDER ALEX ABRAMYAN VS GENRIK HENRY NAZARYAN, ET AL.

Summary adjudication that defendant owed plaintiff a duty under the contract Causes of Action from Complaint 1) Fraud, Deceit and Misrepresentation 2) Breach of Fiduciary Duty 3) Negligence 4) Breach of Contract 5) Conspiracy 6) Resulting or Constructive Trust SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT: Plaintiff Alexander Alex Abramyan alleges that in 2010, defendant Genrik Henry Nazaryan (“Henry Nazaryan”), a real estate broker, acted as a real estate agent for the purchase of a townhouse for plaintiff.

  • Hearing

    Aug 28, 2020

JEAN SPEARS, ET AL. VS PASADENA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL, ET AL.

Summary adjudication that defendant owed plaintiff a duty under the contract Causes of Action from Complaint 1) Fraud, Deceit and Misrepresentation 2) Breach of Fiduciary Duty 3) Negligence 4) Breach of Contract 5) Conspiracy 6) Resulting or Constructive Trust SUMMARY OF COMPLAINT: Plaintiff Alexander Alex Abramyan alleges that in 2010, defendant Genrik Henry Nazaryan (“Henry Nazaryan”), a real estate broker, acted as a real estate agent for the purchase of a townhouse for plaintiff.

  • Hearing

    Aug 28, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

SAMUEL SALEMAN, BY AND THROUGH HIS GUARDIAN AD LITEM, EMANUEL SOMECH VS ROSARIO GONZALEZ

Seventh Cause of Action – Constructive Trust – Under California law, "[a] constructive trust . . . is an equitable remedy, not a substantive claim for relief." (PCO, Inc. v. Christensen, Miller, Fink, Jacobs, Glaser, Weil & Shapiro, LLP, 150 Cal.App.4th 384, 398.)

  • Hearing

    Aug 28, 2020

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

    Aug 27, 2020

DALE HOBE V. RHONDA NIELSEN

On November 7, 2019, Hobe and the Estate of Jaqueline Audrey Hobe (collectively “Plaintiffs”) filed a civil action (19CV-0668) for financial elder abuse, fraud, cancellation of title, conversion, recovery of trust property – conversion, constructive trust, breach of contract and declaratory relief against Nielsen (the “Civil Action”). Hobe now moves for her expenses in serving Nielsen in the Civil Action.

  • Hearing

    Aug 27, 2020

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

    Aug 27, 2020

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

    Aug 27, 2020

  • Type

    Collections

  • Sub Type

    Promisory Note

  • Judge Elaine Lu
  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

DAN OLINCY ET AL VS JACK VICTOR RUTBERG ET AL

Coleman states that the proposed cause of action for rescission relies upon the facts already alleged in the SAC and is intended to work hand-in-hand with the fifth cause of action for constructive trust against Defendants to ensure Defendants are not unjustly enriched from their alleged conduct. (Ibid.) Finally, Coleman states in his supplemental declaration that, shortly after Plaintiffs filed this motion, plaintiff Lesser passed away. (Coleman Supp. Decl., ¶ 4.)

  • Hearing

    Aug 26, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

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

    Aug 26, 2020

GEOFFREY BENNETT, AS ATTORNEY IN FACT FOR CLEAVES M. BENNETT, AND AS SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE OF THE CLEAVES M. BENNETT LIVING TRUST VS ELIZABETH CHAI-CHANG, ET AL.

A true and correct copy of the Plaintiff’s Complaint for (1) Imposition of Constructive Trust; (2) Partition; and (3) Breach of Oral Joint Venture Agreement. Requests Nos. 1 – 13 are DENIED. These documents are not relevant to the Court’s determination of this motion for protective order. They go to the merits/sufficiency of the pleadings, which the Court need not determine on this motion. (See discussion below.) The Court need only take judicial notice of relevant materials. (Mangini v. R.J.

  • Hearing

    Aug 25, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

ROMART HOLGUIN, ET AL. VS RANCHO HUMILDE ENTERTAINMENT, LLC, ET AL.

procedural history Plaintiffs filed the Complaint on June 10, 2019, alleging eight causes of action: Breach of contract Breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing Unjust enrichment Fraud Constructive trust Interference with prospective economic advantage Declaratory relief Accounting On February 4, 2020, this Court denied Defendants’ Motion for an Order to Require Undertaking. On April 16, 2020, Defendants filed the instant Demurrer. Plaintiffs have not filed an Opposition.

  • Hearing

    Aug 24, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

OMNI WOMEN’S HEALTH MEDICAL GROUP V. GROOMS

Explanation: The demurrer to the First Amended Complaint clearly stated defendant was demurring only to the fourth cause of action for unjust enrichment, and defendant’s opening argument did not mention a demurrer to the third cause of action for constructive trust. The opposition brief appeared to assume the demurrer was to both the third and fourth causes of action, and in reply defendant followed suit.

  • Hearing

    Aug 24, 2020

  • Type

    Contract

  • Sub Type

    Contract - Other

GLOBAL STUDENT HOUSING LLC VS TURCO

Those include the 5th cause of action for “abuse of control,” the 6th cause of action for “unjust enrichment,” and the 11th cause of action for “constructive trust.” See, e.g., Everett v. Mountains Recreation and Conservancy Authority (2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 541, 553 [unjust enrichment]; American Master Lease LLC v. Idanta Partners, Ltd. (2014) 225 Cal.App.4th 1451, 1485 [constructive trust]. These are the same claims at issue in the earlier sustained demurrer.

  • Hearing

    Aug 24, 2020

THE MEMBERS OF EASTERN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH V. LEE

These nine causes of action are for breach of fiduciary duty, RICO violations, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, constructive trust, equitable lien, unjust enrichment, declaratory relief, and accounting. Thus, Ho Kim is alleging these claims on behalf of EPC, for damages EPC allegedly suffered by reason of the Defendant’s theft/misappropriation of EPC funds and use of the funds for their personal benefit.

  • Hearing

    Aug 24, 2020

TIMOTHY MCADAM, ET AL. VS JAY DE MIRANDA, ET AL.

On March 11, 2020, Hanisee filed a first amended cross-complaint for (1) intentional misrepresentation; (2) negligent misrepresentation; (3) promissory estoppel (false promise; (4) constructive trust; and (5) unjust enrichment. On May 6, 2020, Hanisee filed a second amended cross-complaint for (1) intentional misrepresentation; (2) negligent misrepresentation; (3) promissory estoppel (false promise; (4) constructive trust; (5) unjust enrichment; and (6) common count (account stated).

  • Hearing

    Aug 24, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

HAMANO VS. ROWE

If defendant argues that plaintiff is entitled to no constructive-trust remedy whatsoever, does that really mean she’s claiming that she’s entitled to keep everything and plaintiff is entitled to nothing at all – neither a share in equity nor refund of investment? She doesn’t assert such a position. But if her contention as to the bottom-line result is anything less aggressive than that, it would seem to mean that at least some form of constructive-trust remedy would be in order.

  • Hearing

    Aug 21, 2020

BABKEN HAROUTUNIAN VS. ZAVEN HAROUTUNIAN

., North Hollywood, CA 91605 as a Trustee of a Constructive Trust for the benefit of himself and Plaintiff Babken Haroutunian. 4. That Defendant Zaven Haroutunian holds title to 8013 Vantage Ave., North Hollywood, CA 91605 as a Trustee of a Resulting Trust for the benefit of himself and Plaintiff Babken Haroutunian.”

  • Hearing

    Aug 21, 2020

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    Quiet Title

(NO CASE NAME AVAILABLE)

., North Hollywood, CA 91605 as a Trustee of a Constructive Trust for the benefit of himself and Plaintiff Babken Haroutunian. 4. That Defendant Zaven Haroutunian holds title to 8013 Vantage Ave., North Hollywood, CA 91605 as a Trustee of a Resulting Trust for the benefit of himself and Plaintiff Babken Haroutunian.”

  • Hearing

    Aug 21, 2020

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

    Aug 21, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

HENDRICKSON V. MCCOLLUM, ET AL.

Justin McCollum moves to strike the portions of the FAC referring to: punitive damages allegations against him; a “set aside of the apportionment of the settlement agreement”; an equitable lien; and, a constructive trust. The Court grants the motion with respect to the allegations for an order “setting aside the settlement” and a “constructive trust/equitable lien.”

  • Hearing

    Aug 21, 2020

VENERA MYSEL VS ALEX CARNEVALI

FIFTH CAUSE OF ACTION: CONSTRUCTIVE TRUST (Issue Nos. 14-16) “[I]n order to create a constructive trust as defined in [Civil Code] section 2224, three conditions must be satisfied: the existence of a res (property or some interest in the property); the plaintiff's right to that res; and the defendant's acquisition of the res by some wrongful act.” (Optional Capital, Inc. v. DAS Corp. (2014) 222 Cal.App.4th 1388, 1402.)

  • Hearing

    Aug 21, 2020

WARDWELL VS VERTICAL INFILL INC

Plaintiff alleges causes of action against this defendant for elder financial abuse, intentional infliction of emotional distress, constructive trust, unjust enrichment, and equitable estoppel.

  • Hearing

    Aug 20, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

WARDWELL VS VERTICAL INFILL INC

Plaintiff alleges causes of action against this defendant for elder financial abuse, intentional infliction of emotional distress, constructive trust, unjust enrichment, and equitable estoppel.

  • Hearing

    Aug 20, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

WARDWELL VS VERTICAL INFILL INC

Plaintiff alleges causes of action against this defendant for elder financial abuse, intentional infliction of emotional distress, constructive trust, unjust enrichment, and equitable estoppel.

  • Hearing

    Aug 20, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

WARDWELL VS VERTICAL INFILL INC

Plaintiff alleges causes of action against this defendant for elder financial abuse, intentional infliction of emotional distress, constructive trust, unjust enrichment, and equitable estoppel.

  • Hearing

    Aug 20, 2020

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

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