Lata v. Rush – quantifying quantum meruit claims

Written on February 8, 2013 – 8:00 am | by Jasmine Sweatman

In Lata v. Rush the plaintiff brought an action contesting the validity of Helen Oshchypok’s will (“Helen”), in the alternative unjust enrichment/quantum meruit and constructive or resulting trust over 63 9th Street, Toronto.

The plaintiff immigrated to Canada and was assisted by Helen.  The plaintiff claimed there was an agreement the plaintiff would assist Helen with her personal care and maintaining the house (the plaintiff lived in the basement and paid rent).  The plaintiff cared for Helen for about three years full time but had to stop when she became pregnant.  The plaintiff moved out and found another couple to move in and take care of Helen.

The 2000 will changed the 1997 (which left the plaintiff the property) will and left the plaintiff $50,000 instead of the property.  The court found the will was valid and there was no undue influence.  The court went on to consider constructive trust but also found it did not apply as there was no “direct link between the contribution and the property.”

The court then considered the unjust enrichment and quantum meruit claim and found the plaintiff was entitled to payment for services rendered.  However, as the plaintiff did not submit evidence as to the value of the work she did and seeing that the plaintiff received a $50,000 bequest under the will the court found the plaintiff was not entitled to damages in excess of the $50,000 bequest.

Lesson Learned: Remember to quantify your damages and if you want to read a good case that goes through the elements of such a claim read this one.

Until next time

Jasmine Sweatman/Jennifer Stebbing

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