The Second Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court, determined the cause of action for money had and received should not have been dismissed. Plaintiff alleged he gave the proceeds of an annuity to his sister (defendant) for safe-keeping (in her bank account) until he decided how to dispose of it. The agreement was oral but the cause of action was in the nature of quasi-contract (unjust enrichment) and was therefore not barred by the statute of frauds:
“The essential elements of a cause of action for money had and received are (1) the defendant received money belonging to the plaintiff, (2) the defendant benefitted from receipt of the money, and (3) under principles of equity and good conscience, the defendant should not be permitted to keep the money. The action depends upon equitable principles in the sense that broad considerations of right, justice and morality apply to it” … .
Here, the plaintiff alleged sufficient facts to assert a cause of action for money had and received. The complaint alleges that the defendant received a benefit when she received the proceeds of the plaintiff’s surrendered annuity, with the understanding that the defendant would keep those proceeds safe while the plaintiff determined how he wanted to dispose of the funds … . Contrary to the defendant’s contention, a plaintiff need not allege malice to state a cause of action for money had and received … . Litvinoff v Wright, 2017 NY Slip Op 03501, 2nd Dept 5-3-17