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Constructive Trust

Posted on July 28, 2017 | Posted in Construction, Five Liners

Ciccocioppo Design/Build v. Gruppuso 2017 Ont SCJ

Time to preserve a lien came and went. The contractor issued a statement of claim claiming a constructive trust in the land on the basis of unjust enrichment. To show unjust enrichment, a party needs to show that there is an enrichment (in this case by the owner), a corresponding deprivation (in this case by the contractor for improving the land without full payment), and the absence of a juristic reason to deny recovery. The contractor’s claim was dismissed because there were 2 juristic reasons for the enrichment and deprivation. First, the parties had a contract; a contract is a juristic reason. If a party under a contract is aggrieved, that party should sue under the contract. Second, the Construction Lien Act sets out a statutory scheme providing for an interest in land in favour of contractors who have contributed to its betterment. The Act strikes a balance among all those involved in a construction project and allowing the claim of the plaintiff, who did not preserve his lien, would defeat the scheme of the Act.


Jonathan Speigel


Written by Jonathan Speigel Jonathan Speigel, the founding partner of Speigel Nichols Fox LLP, leads the litigation and construction practices.



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