What to expect from Unjust Enrichment defense?

One of my affirmative defenses against debt collector includes Unjust Enrichment. So, if debt collector bought debt for 5 cents on the dollar, and judgement goes to plaintiff. 1- Will judge award plaintiff more than that 5 cents on the dollar? 2- Will judge award plaintiff interest and attorney fees on judgement amount?

San Diego, CA -

Attorney Answers (5)

Michael Charles Doland

Michael Charles Doland

Litigation Lawyer - Los Angeles, CA
Answered

I hope you won't take us through all your affirmative defenses. The fact that a debt was purchased for less than face value does not make it unjust enrichment. The risk of uncollectablity alone and the costs of collection account for part of the discount. So, 1 - if sucessful, yes.; 2 - see my prior answer.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may... more
Sponsored Listing
Tara Renee Burd

Tara Renee Burd

Litigation Lawyer - San Diego, CA
Answered

Your affirmative defenses have nothing to do with what a judge ultimately awards. Affirmative defenses raise issues that are not otherwise raised by the complaint but that, if proven by the Defendant, can reduce Plaintiff's award (such as an off-set) or tip the results in Defendant's favor. Interest and attorneys fees are also completely separate issues. Attorneys fees may be awarded only if they are included in a contract on a breach of contract claim, or exist by statute. Without reading the Complaint it is impossible to determine whether attorneys fees may be awarded. It has nothing, however, to do with your affirmative defense.

Unjust enrichment is an equitable remedy. As a defense, it merely says that it would be unfair for the Defendant to pay Plaintiff for some reason (depending on the facts and circumstances of the case) even if Plaintiff has a valid claim under the complaint.

This reply is provided for information purposes only and does not represent legal advice or an attorney-client... more
Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Frank Wei-Hong Chen

Litigation Lawyer - San Marino, CA
Answered

Unjust enrichment is not a viable defense to a debt collection lawsuit.

The court will award the plaintiff what the plaintiff can prove is the actual debt (certainly more than 5 cents on the dollar), plus prejudgment interest and reasonable attorney's fees (if applicable as set forth by contract), and costs.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is... more
A Melissa Johnson

A Melissa Johnson

Litigation Lawyer - San Diego, CA
Answered

The trier of fact will make an award based on the amount of the debt which plaintiff is able to prove. The award will not be limited to the amount which the collections folks paid for the debt.

Post-judgment interest will be awarded to the plaintiff (10% per year). Whether prejudgment interest is awarded depends on the nature of the claim. Without more infomation, I cannot provide an opinion regarding prejudgment interst.

Attorney fees are genrally available only when authorized by a statute or by contract. You have not provided enough inforation for me to provide an opinion.

Dave Bahr

Dave Bahr

Litigation Lawyer - Eugene, OR
Answered

I agree with my colleagues regarding the nature of affirmative defenses. I also agree that unjust enrichment does not address the underlying claim in a debt collection case.

I have been licensed to practice in the State of Oregon since 1990. I am not offering legal advice regarding your... more

Related Advice

Questions? An attorney can help.

Ask a Question
Free & anonymous.
Find a Lawyer
Free. No commitment.