Plaintiff Granted an Accounting in Unjust Enrichment Case
Alison Arden Besunder, Esq., partner at Goetz Fitzpatrick LLP, recently obtained a victory from the Appellate Division affirming a grant of summary judgment to the firm’s client on her unjust enrichment claim for almost $1 million. The client, a limited partner in various real estate entities, was denied distributions from the Limited Partnerships totaling $1 Million from the sale of various properties. The General Partner refused to give the client her money unless she signed a general release, relieving him from any responsibility for any and all liability, whether known or not known. Separate proceedings in Surrogate’s Court had already acknowledged that the General Partner had significantly overpaid himself management fees, among other things. The client, as plaintiff, sued for unjust enrichment and other claims.
The General Partner moved for summary judgment pursuant to CPLR 3212 to dismiss all of the plaintiff’s claims. Instead, the Supreme Court granted summary judgment in favor of the Plaintiff on her unjust enrichment claim, holding that she was entitled to her proceeds without condition and that the General Partner should not have transferred those funds to a separate entity in which the plaintiff had no interest. The Supreme Court also rejected the General Partner’s argument that he was entitled to spend the plaintiff’s $1 million as indemnification to defend himself against the claims plaintiff brought against him for his refusal to pay the funds in the first place. The Supreme Court also directed the General Partner to provide an accounting of each of the limited partnerships from 1997 to present to identify any other monies to which plaintiff might be entitled. The Supreme Court rejected the General Partner’s claims that res judicata and collateral estoppel precluded plaintiff’s claims in Supreme Court because she was a beneficiary in an estate proceeding in Surrogate’s Court in which the decedent owned an interest in the same limited partnerships.
The Appellate Division, First Department affirmed the Supreme Court’s ruling in all respects.
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