November 27, 2018
Senior Associate Jeremy Opolsky told The Lawyer’s Daily the SCC’s decision could create more uncertainty for unjust enrichment since statutes “must now oust unjust enrichment with ‘irresistible clearness’.”
Jeremy and his team 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.
“This will allow a significantly broader latitude for plaintiffs, but significantly less clarity for the effect of laws like the Insurance Act,” Jeremy said.
Jeremy said he predicted a spike in life insurance litigation, as well as lengthier disputes, explaining “the Insurance Act is drafted to facilitate the quick and automatic payment of life insurance proceeds, to fund important expenses like funeral costs.”
“Disappointed beneficiaries will be able to sue for the life insurance proceeds, leading to protracted and expensive disputes,” he said.