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Callano v. Oakwood Park Homes Corp

    Brief Fact Summary. The Callanos (Plaintiffs) operated a plant nursery and Oakwood’s park (Defendant) were constructing a house to be sold to Plaintiffs. Pursuant to a contract with Plaintiffs, Defendants planted shrubbery on the lot. Plaintiff did not pay the invoice and died shortly thereafter.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. A Plaintiff cannot use quasi-contract or theory of unjust enrichment to substitute a known promisor or debtor for another. Quasi-contract will only be applied where no other remedy exists.

    Facts. New home owner purchased a lot from Defendant and under a separate contract home owner contracted with Plaintiffs to plant shrubbery on lot. Home owner died prior to paying Plaintiffs for the shrubbery and subsequently, home owner’s estate cancelled the contract with Defendant. Defendant then resold the lot without knowing the Plaintiffs were not paid for the shrubbery, and the value of the lot was increased due to Plaintiffs shrubbery. Plaintiffs state the Defendant was unjustly enriched due to the shrubery. Defendant appeals.

    Issue. Whether Defendant must pay the plaintiffs for the shrubbery based on an implied or quasi-contract theory that Defendant was unjustly enriched.

    Held. Defendant is not the proper party to pay for the shrubs and is not liable. The Callanos remedy is against Plaintiff’s estate since they did contract and expect payment from Plaintiff. Quasi-contract will only be used where there is no other remedy. Here, there was properly an action in contract against Plaintiff’s estate.

    Discussion. Implied or quasi-contracts are legal fictions and are not true obligations determined by assent to be bound but are made to seem like a contract for the purpose of remedy and arise only from the law. However, the Court states that contracts are to be implied with caution. Here since another proper remedy for the contract existed the contract would not be im


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