Equity: Trusts: Restitution

Young v. Montana State Fund [01/08/08] 2008 MTWCC 2 Section 72-33-219, MCA, defines a constructive trust as that which arises when a person holding title to property is subject to an equitable duty to convey it to another on the ground that the person holding title would be unjustly enriched if he were permitted to keep it. In State Comp. Ins. Fund v. Richter, 1994 MTWCC 20, this Court adopted the definition of “unjust enrichment” from Black’s Law Dictionary, 1377 (5th ed. 1979). The adopted definition specifically notes that requiring a party to make restitution should occur when “it is just and equitable that such restitution be made.” The Court concluded that where Respondent accidentally paid Petitioner funds which were not due and Petitioner spent part of those funds on purchases he otherwise would not have made, it was only just and equitable to order Petitioner to return the funds which he did not spend in ways that would change his position for the worse if complete restitution were ordered.