Jeremy Opolsky Says Decision in Moore v. Sweet Complicates "Unjust Enrichment"

November 27, 2018

Senior Associate Jeremy Opolsky told Canadian Lawyer, the decision in Michelle Constance Moore v. Risa Lorraine Sweet “makes ‘unjust enrichment’ more complicated rather than less.”

Jeremy acted pro bono for the Risa Sweet, the second wife of the late Lawrence Moore. The SCC determined 7-2 that Risa was not entitled to the benefits of Mr. Moore’s life insurance policy due to unjust enrichment. Michelle, Lawrence’s first wife who had been paying the policy’s premiums, was therefore maintained as the sole beneficiary.

“It removes some of the clarity in parties being able to rely on a statute—in this case the Insurance Act—as a basis for a juristic reason and therefore as an answer to a claim of unjust enrichment,” Jeremy said.

He also said the decision could generate more litigation surrounding life insurance claims.

“It opens up a greater, broader avenue for claims of unjust enrichment, even when a statute may indicate where money should flow,” he said.

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