The topic of the PowerPoints for this class lecture is Constructive Trusts. It truly is an intriguing type of equitable remedy. It certainly does not depend upon the parties’ own intentions – in fact, often, the parties had everything else in mind rather than creating a trust. It is an equitable fiction – designed by the Court to prevent true injustice. When one party wrongfully violates a fiduciary duty or otherwise commits an “equitable fraud” one equitable remedy is simply to declare them an involuntary “trustee” holding property or monies or other tangible assets for the equitable benefit of a victim. We start with a classic New York case, Sharp v. Kosmalski, which is almost a short novel. Only – it was real. A man in his 50s, in a desperate effort to court a woman who was much younger – gave her title to his dairy farm, title to his house, and then first access and finally title to all his bank accounts. When she had obtained everything in the world he owned, she promptly evicted him, leaving him with $300 and nothing else. The tale is in the telling – it is truly an interesting case. We then turn to South Carolina and study some somewhat similar cases – dealing with a breach of confidence when one party entrusted his worldly goods to another.
Archive for the ‘Equity PowerPoints’ Category
This class actually covered a number of different (but related) topics. We start with some of the procedural rules that “merged” law and equity (for example, SCRCP 8(e)) At the same time, we take a look at some of the fundamental differences between law and equity — and some of equity’s vast powers but also highly significant restrictions. The class ends with a look at the modern South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act — which proclaims that if something is truly “unfair” and in “commerce” it might result in a legal remedy of three times the actual damages plus attorney fees. In short, sometimes “unfair” triggers law, sometimes it triggers equity, and sometimes, the Court system cannot do a whole lot to even solve the problem at all. Welcome — to the mixed-up, complex, real world. No wonder it is fun to teach this stuff.
Continuing with this part of the blog, from time to time, I am adding more of the Power Points I use in my own course at the Charleston School of Law in Equity. You will note that I often start a new class by reviewing quickly the key points of a prior class or two. In my own opinion, this sometimes helps students pick up what I think are the real “take aways” from the prior classes. Of course, as always, I am happy to hear comments – pro or con. (after all that is the world we all live in)