Constructive Trust: Unjust Enrichment and Breach of Fiduciary Duty

A constructive trust is an equitable device to “remedy a situation where a party has been wrongfully deprived of some right, title or interest in property as a result of fraud or violation of confidence of faith reposed in another.” Lynch v. Lynch, 260 S.W.3d 834, 837 (Mo. 2008).  It may also provide a remedy in case of unjust enrichment or breach of fiduciary duty. US Fidelity and Guaranty Co. v. Hiles, 670 S.W.2d 134, 137 (Mo. Ct. App. 1984).

“To establish a constructive trust, an extraordinary degree of proof is required.” Fix v. Fix, 847 S.W.2d 762, 765 (Mo. 1993). “The evidence must be so clear, cogent, and convincing as to exclude every reasonable doubt in the mind of the trial court.” Id. At the same time, however, courts are not bound by an “unyielding formula” in imposing a constructive trust. Douglass v. Douglass, 570 S.W.3d 130, 136 (Mo. Ct. App. 2019). Indeed, there is not a requirement of legal wrongdoing or wrongful or malicious intent. Id.

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