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

Rulings on Constructive Trust

1-25 of 1884 results

JANIS F HORN SEPARATE PROPERTY TRUST VS SHAOUL LEVY

Plaintiff seeks a constructive trust on assets or profits acquired via funds taken. Defendant moves for summary adjudication on plaintiff’s constructive trust cause of action, alleging his repayment of the funds establishes his affirmative defense of election of remedies.

  • Hearing

    Sep 24, 2019

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

NOCQULA JONES VS RICKY DARNELL BRIDGES ET AL

Constructive trust is not a cause of action per se, but an equitable remedy. (Batt v. City and County of San Francisco (2007) 155 Cal.App.4th 65, 82.) However, a constructive trust cause of action is allowed if it incorporates by reference the underlying claim. (Michaelian v. State Comp. Ins.

  • Hearing

    Jun 19, 2018

FSP-SOUTH FLOWER STREET LLC VS MORGAN STANLEY PRIVATE BANK N

trust is satisfied; and (5) in the event that FSP lacks priority, its constructive trust will not be extinguished but will instead remain in place on the Property.

  • Hearing

    Jan 24, 2019

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    other

FRANK KISS VS SOONTREE POONPIPAT

If a complaint is essentially for money damages with an appended constructive trust allegation, it cannot support a lis pendens. However, if the constructive trust allegation is the gravamen of the dispute, a lis pendens may be maintained. Here, the Kiss’s Complaint has not simply “appended” an allegation of constructive trust. A review of the pleading reveals that title to the property is at the heart of the dispute. The fraud and constructive trust allegations are interwoven.

  • Hearing

    Feb 21, 2019

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

  • Judge

    Maurice A. Leiter or Salvatore Sirna

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

JANIS F HORN SEPARATE PROPERTY TRUST VS SHAOUL LEVY

Therefore, defendant’s core argument that plaintiff has abandoned a claim for constructive trust by requesting the funds be repaid is legally faulty. The motion is DENIED.

  • Hearing

    Sep 04, 2019

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    Fraud

BURNIS WHITE ET AL. VS NORMA D HERBERT ET AL.

Ronald White’s demurrer to the cause of action for constructive trust is sustained without leave to amend. Constructive Trust: As to defendant Norma Herbert, the complaint fails to allege facts sufficient to establish that a constructive trust should be imposed on the property in favor of plaintiffs.

  • Hearing

    Mar 26, 2019

  • Judge

    Michael Mulvihill

  • County

    San Joaquin County, CA

DANNY HENDERSON VS MONIQUE ROBERTS

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 (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 384, 398; Batt v. City & County of San Francisco (2007) 155 Cal.App.4th 65, 82 [stating that a constructive trust is not an independent cause of action]; see also F.T.C. v. Network Servs.

  • Hearing

    Jun 25, 2019

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    Quiet Title

EDWARD C SOSA VS. CHARLES G FLEMING

Bruder (1941) 47 Cal.App.2d 431, 436-437 [third-party to the fraud who was conveyed the property subject to a constructive trust took the property subject to the constructive trust because he was not a bona fide purchaser for value].)

  • Hearing

    Jun 26, 2015

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    other

ANDREW M RADFORD, ET AL VS ARTHUR RADFORD, ET AL

Request for Dismissal of Constructive Trust Petition On September 21, 2017, Radford filed a petition for constructive trust pursuant to Probate Code Section 850, seeking an order granting him the entirety of the decedent’s estate. Respondents Mary Zitwer Millman, Michelle Zitwer, Barbara Zitwer Alicea, and Ruth Cohen, and others, as intestate heirs of the estate, have challenged Radford’s constructive trust petition.

  • Hearing

    Oct 04, 2018

FAITH NO MORE ET AL VS MANIFESTO RECORDS INC ET AL

Constructive trust – Defendants move to strike the request for constructive trust from the prayer. They contend the complaint does not allege fraud or a fiduciary relationship, which are essential elements for a constructive trust. But Plaintiffs are seeking a constructive trust only as a remedy for any money held by Defendants.

  • Hearing

    Sep 01, 2017

ESTATE OF BARRY ANDREW PATTEN

Request for Dismissal of Constructive Trust Petition On September 21, 2017, Radford filed a petition for constructive trust pursuant to Probate Code Section 850, seeking an order granting him the entirety of the decedent’s estate. Respondents Mary Zitwer Millman, Michelle Zitwer, Barbara Zitwer Alicea, and Ruth Cohen, and others, as intestate heirs of the estate, have challenged Radford’s constructive trust petition.

  • Hearing

    Oct 04, 2018

JAY KATO ET AL VS. BRUCE KATO ET AL

Plaintiff’s request for the imposition of a constructive trust is DENIED without prejudice. Perhaps Plaintiff’s counsel has not heard of a motion for a preliminary injunction or other motion for provisional remedy. Plaintiff cites no authority that a constructive trust can be imposed upon vis-à-vis a simple motion while an anti-SLAPP motion is pending.

  • Hearing

    Jan 28, 2019

  • Type

    Other

  • Sub Type

    Intellectual Property

CARLSON VS HOEVEN FAMILY PARTNERSHIP II, LLC

The issue of whether to impose a constructive trust is an equitable issue for the court.” [Emphasis added.] Am. Master Lease LLC v. Idanta Partners, Ltd. (2014) 225 Cal. App. 4th 1451, 1485. The COA for declaratory relief for a constructive trust seeks to redress past wrongs and is a remedy, rather than a separate COA. A constructive trust does not appear to be a proper subject for declaratory relief.

  • Hearing

    Mar 09, 2020

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

ROBERT JACQUES, ET AL VS. GNL INVESTMENTS, LLC, ET AL

However, unlike the complaint in BGJ Associates, Plaintiffs’ complaint only alleges two claims for dissolution of partnership and constructive trust. In contrast to the nine causes of action for monetary damages in BGJ Associates, there are no other causes of action, nor is there any claim for monetary damages. Plaintiffs have not merely appended a constructive trust claim to a complaint for fraud and monetary damages.

  • Hearing

    Jul 14, 2017

BARBARA GATLIN VS DELLITA JOHNSON ET AL

In the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”), Plaintiff alleges causes of action for fraudulent transfer and constructive trust. Defendant Johnson now demurs to the first cause of action for fraudulent transfer and the second action for constructive trust. In addition, Defendant Johnson moves to strike portions of the Complaint. Plaintiff opposes the demurrer and motion.

  • Hearing

    Sep 04, 2019

  • Type

    Personal Injury/ Tort

  • Sub Type

    other

LISA AGUILAR VS MARK HAMO

Therefore, Plaintiff’s breach of oral contract fails based on her admission that no such agreement exists. 2nd CAUSE OF ACTION CONSTRUCTIVE TRUST: "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.

  • Hearing

    Oct 08, 2019

LEE VS. GARDEN GROVE MANOR, INC.

Constructive Trust: Plaintiff failed to allege the prerequisites to establish a constructive trust. “A constructive trust ‘may be imposed in practically any case where there has been a wrongful acquisition or detention of property to which another is entitled, but the party attempting to establish the constructive trust must establish the claim by clear and convincing evidence.’” Optional Capital, Inc. v. Das Corp. (2015) 222 Cal. App. 4th 1388, 1402.

  • Hearing

    Dec 11, 2017

SHARIFAN VS IDC CONSULTING ENGINEERS

Constructive TrustConstructive trust” is not a oa, it is a remedy. The court would grant leave to plead a constructive trust as a remedy. 6. Declaratory Relief There are three problems with this claim. First, declaratory relief operates only prospectively to regulate the parties’ future rights, it’s not intended to give relief as to past misconduct. Here the facts alleged show only a past breach of contract.

  • Hearing

    Sep 24, 2018

HART V. MADERIOUS

Fourth Cause of Action—“Constructive Trust” The Defendant argues that the allegations fail to identify who is suing for a constructive trust, who owns the property alleged to be in the constructive trust, and who was defrauded to create the constructive trust. The more fundamental issue with this “cause of action” is that a constructive trust is “not a substantive device but merely a remedy.” (See Embarcadero Mun. Improvement Dist. v. County of Santa Barbara (2001) 88 Cal.

  • Hearing

    Jul 11, 2018

TIANJIN WEINADA INTERNATIONAL TRADING CO., LTD. VS. SUN

Second Cause of Action for Constructive Trust: “The case law explains that in order to create a constructive trust as defined in 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. . . .

  • Hearing

    Apr 16, 2018

SUSAN BASSI V. NAT (NED) E. HALES, JR.

Constructive Trust Defendant argues that the first cause of action for constructive trust fails to allege sufficient facts to state a claim because constructive trust is a remedy not a cause of action; a claim for constructive trust is not independently viable when no cause of action has otherwise been stated; and the only other claim alleged in the FAC fails.

  • Hearing

    Apr 26, 2018

PONCIANO AND NORMA GALLARDO VS. WELLS FARGO BANK, N.A.

With regard to Plaintiff’s claims for Lack of Standing and Constructive Trust, the Court granted the motion without leave to amend. With regard to the remaining causes of action, the Court granted the motion with 10 days leave to amend. On 9/29/16, Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint, asserting causes of action for: 1. Lack of Standing 2. Wrongful Foreclosure 3. Quiet Title 4. Constructive Trust 5.

  • Hearing

    Nov 29, 2016

  • Type

    Real Property

  • Sub Type

    Foreclosure

  • Judge

    Brian S. Currey or John A. Slawson

  • County

    Los Angeles County, CA

CYNTHIA BETZLER VS CALIFORNIA FRANCHISE TAX BOARD

The FAC, entitled “First Amended Complaint for Credit and Refund for Overpayment of Taxes, Penalties and Interest, Constructive Trust, and Breach of Fiduciary Duty” asserts a single cause of action for: Constructive Trust. Legal Standard A demurrer for sufficiency tests whether the complaint states a cause of action. Hahn v. Mirda (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 740, 747. When considering demurrers, courts read the allegations liberally and in context. (Wilson v.

  • Hearing

    Nov 20, 2019

  • Type

    Other

  • Sub Type

    Intellectual Property

MARIA GUTIERREZ, ET AL. VS ILANA MARIA STOLTZ

The Complaint also alleges that Defendant breached her fiduciary duties as trustee of the constructive trust by denying Plaintiffs their individual interest in the property. (Complaint, ¶ 55.)

  • Hearing

    Jul 02, 2019

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 76     last » 

For full print and download access, please subscribe at https://www.trellis.law/.

Please wait a moment while we load this page.