Pleading Requirements for Unjust Enrichment and Fraud Not Met
The Second Department determined the complaint against defendant bank alleging unjust enrichment and fraud was properly dismissed for failure to state a cause of action. The action stemmed from a foreclosure sale. After the property had been sold, the judgment of foreclosure and sale was vacated because the bank did not properly serve process on one of the parties. The full amount paid for the property was refunded to the plaintiff. The plaintiff then sued for unjust enrichment claiming the bank collected banK fees and interest. Re: unjust enrichment: the complaint failed to allege the bank had been enriched at plaintiff’s expense. And the plaintiff sued for fraud alleging the bank knew it had failed to properly serve one of the parties at the time it prosecuted the foreclosure action. Re: fraud: the complaint included only conclusory allegations of fraud without out the requisite supporting factual allegations. The Second Department explained:
The elements of a cause of action to recover for unjust enrichment are “(1) the defendant was enriched, (2) at the plaintiff’s expense, and (3) that it is against equity and good conscience to permit the defendant to retain what is sought to be recovered” … . “The essential inquiry in any action for unjust enrichment or restitution is whether it is against equity and good conscience to permit the defendant to retain what is sought to be recovered” … .
Here, the plaintiff merely alleged in the amended complaint that U.S. Bank was “unjustly enriched in that it collected bank fees and interest.” Even accepting these allegations in the amended complaint as true, the amended complaint failed, as a matter of law, to sufficiently allege that U.S. Bank was enriched at the plaintiff’s expense … . * * *
“The elements of a cause of action sounding in fraud are a material misrepresentation of an existing fact, made with knowledge of the falsity, an intent to induce reliance thereon, justifiable reliance upon the misrepresentation, and damages” … . All of the elements of a fraud claim “must be supported by factual allegations containing the details constituting the wrong” in order to satisfy the pleading requirements of CPLR 3016(b)… .
Here, the amended complaint consisted of conclusory allegations regarding U.S. Bank’s knowledge that it had commenced and prosecuted the underlying foreclosure action without properly effecting service on all of the necessary parties. Furthermore, the facts alleged in the amended complaint do not give rise to a reasonable inference that U.S. Bank had knowledge of, or participated in, the alleged fraud … . GFRE, Inc. v U.S. Bank, N.A., 2015 NY Slip Op 05640, 2nd Dept 7-1-15