Restitution and Unjust Enrichment
Restitution is the body of law concerning civil liability for unjust enrichment. Restitution is the fourth major branch of civil law, and the law of restitution runs through all of the other three major branches—contract, tort, and property. As such, study of the law of restitution could easily be included within the first-year curriculum as a foundational subject necessary to a basic understanding of the law in general, in the United States and internationally, and as a building block integral to a full understanding of advanced commercial law subjects and sophisticated commercial litigation. This course surveys the law of restitution. The topics covered include: benefits conferred by mistake, by transactions conducted with defective consent or authority, or through transfers made under legal compulsion; restitution for unrequested interventions, including the law of indemnity and contribution, equitable subrogation, and common funds; disgorgement of benefits acquired by tort or other wrongful breach of duty; restitution in conjunction with failed contracts; restitution via monetary liability and via rights in identifiable property, even in the hands of subsequent transferees; defenses to restitution; and the relative priority rights of restitution claimants as against creditors with liens on identifiable property, including the priority rights of restitution claimants under the Uniform Commercial Code and the Bankruptcy Code. This course will not address criminal restitution penalties. An understanding of the issues covered in this course is useful to all practicing lawyers and particularly for civil litigators.
Sequence and Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course.
Evaluation: Grading is based upon a comprehensive final examination, as well as class attendance and participation.