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What does this mean? What is the difference between "legal"

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What does this mean? What is the difference between "legal" and "equitable" causes of action:

In any civil action the plaintiff may include in
the complaint both legal and equitable rights and
causes of action, and demand both legal and equitable remedies; but, if several causes of action
are united in the same complaint, they shall all
be brought to recover, either (
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Law Pro replied 1 year ago.

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"legal" causes of action are where the rights of the parties are spelled out in the wrighting or at law.

"equitable" causes of action are where there would be "injustice" if something weren't done to compensate for some reason.

The easiest example I can give you is - when someone performs work for someone but doesn't have a written contract as to what the cost of the services are to be.

That legally, if there is no contract (oral or written) the person getting the benefit of the services doesn't have to pay anything. However, there is an "equitable" remedy - "unjust enrichment" which the person performing the services can recover for their time and expenses.

A general equitable principle that no person should be allowed to profit at another's expense without making restitution for the reasonable value of any property, services, or other benefits that have been unfairly received and retained.

Although the unjust enrichment doctrine is sometimes referred to as a quasi-contractual remedy, unjust enrichment is not based on an express contract. Instead, litigants normally resort to the remedy of unjust enrichment when they have no written or verbal contract to support their claim for relief. In such instances litigants ask a court to find a contractual relationship that is implied in law, a fictitious relationship created by courts to do justice in a particular case.

Unjust enrichment has three elements. First, the plaintiff must have provided the defendant with something of value while expecting compensation in return. Second, the defendant must have acknowledged, accepted, and benefited from whatever the plaintiff provided. Third, the plaintiff must show that it would be inequitable or Unconscionable for the defendant to enjoy the benefit of the plaintiff's actions without paying for it. A court will closely examine the facts of each case before awarding this remedy and will deny claims for unjust enrichment that frustrate public policy or violate the law.

In some circumstances unjust enrichment is the appropriate remedy when a formally executed agreement has been ruled unenforceable due to incapacity, mistake, impossibility of performance, or the Statute of Frauds. In certain states, for example, contracts with minors are Voidable at the minor's discretion because persons under the age of majority are deemed legally incapable of entering into contracts. But if the minor has received a benefit from the other party's performance before nullifying the contract, the law of unjust enrichment will require the minor to pay for the fair market value of the benefit received. If the adult used duress or Undue Influence to induce the minor to enter the contract, however, the court will deny recovery in unjust enrichment because the adult lacked "clean hands."

In other circumstances unjust enrichment is the appropriate remedy for parties who have entered a legally enforceable contract, but where performance by one party exceeds the precise requirements of the agreement. For example, suppose a homeowner and a builder have entered into a legally binding contract under which the builder is to construct a two-car garage. One day the owner returns to her residence and discovers that in addition to constructing a two-car garage, the builder has paved the driveway. The owner says nothing about the driveway but later refuses to compensate the builder for the paving job. The builder has a claim for unjust enrichment in an amount representing the reasonable value of the labor and materials used in paving the driveway.

Suppose, instead, that after completing half the job, the builder tells the owner that he cannot finish the garage as originally agreed, but that he wants to be paid for the work he has done. The owner balks at this demand, arguing that the builder has breached his contractual obligations and is entitled to nothing. A minority of jurisdictions would allow the builder to recover the reasonable value of his services, minus any damages suffered by the owner as a result of the breach. A majority of jurisdictions, however, adhere to the rule that a party who fails to perform contractual obligations has no remedy regardless of the amount of hardship he might endure.

The doctrine of unjust enrichment also governs many situations where the litigants have no contractual relationship. For example, the law finds an implied promise to pay for emergency medical treatment that is neither requested nor consented to by a patient. In some jurisdictions the law finds an implied promise to pay for life-saving medical treatment even when a patient objects to receiving it. The law also requires parents to reimburse a person who voluntarily supplies necessaries such as food, shelter, and clothing to their children. As these examples demonstrate, unjust enrichment is a flexible remedy that allows courts great latitude in shifting the gains and losses between the parties as Equity, fairness, and justice dictate.

 

[http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/unjust+enrichment]

 

 

So you would sue in the alternative - 1) that the other party breached the contract (legal cause of action) or 2) unjust enrichment if there is found not to be a valid and binding contract.

 

 

 

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Must I state in my Complaint that I am filing a "legal" or "equitable" cause of action, or will it be obvious to the judge?

Expert:  Law Pro replied 1 year ago.
It's obvious to the judge - you don't have to state whether you are making a legal or equitable argument.

You just need a legally recognizeable argument or claim to make the claim - whether that be a "legal" or "equitable" claim or cause of action.



Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which will be helpful to you. If I have not fully addressed your questions or if you have any follow up questions, or if I have misinterpreted your questions in any way, please do not rate me yet, but simply ask a follow up question without rating so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer. If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service with 3, 4, or 5 faces/stars so I can receive credit for helping you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!
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Experience: 20 years experience in business law - sole proprietor, partnership, and corporations
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