1. Receipt of a benefit at the expense of another; and
2. Unjust retention of the benefit.
“[A] benefit is conferred not only when one adds to the property of another, but also when one saves the other from expense or loss.” Ghirardo v. Antonioli, 14 Cal. 4th 39, 51 (1996).
“The person receiving the benefit is required to make restitution only if the circumstances are such that, as between the two individuals, it is unjust for the person to retain it.” First Nationwide Savings v. Perry, 11 Cal. App. 4th 1657, 1662-63 (1992).
“‘Unjust Enrichment’ does not describe a theory of recovery, but an effect: the result of a failure to make restitution under circumstances where it is equitable to do so.” Lauriedale Associates, Ltd. v. Wilson, 7 Cal. App. 4th 1439, 1448 (1992).
Unjust enrichment “is based on the idea that ‘one person should not be permitted unjustly to enrich himself at the expense of another, but should be required to make restitution of or for property or benefits received, retained, or appropriated, where it is just and equitable that such restitution be made, and where such action involves no violation or frustration of law or opposition to public policy, either directly or indirectly.’” County of San Bernardino v. Walsh, 158 Cal. App. 4th 533, 542 (2007) (citing Dinosaur Development, Inc. v. White, 216 Cal. App. 3d 1310, 1315 (1989)).
With regard to the misappropriation of trade secrets under California’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act, California Civil Code sections 3426, et seq. “[a] complainant also may recover for the unjust enrichment caused by misappropriation that is not taken into account in computing damages for actual loss.” Cal. Civ. Code § 3426.3(a) (2013).
CALIFORNIA STATE COURTS
California Supreme Court: Ghirardo v. Antonioli, 14 Cal. 4th 39, 50-51 (1996).
California 1st Dist.: Elder v. Pac. Bell Tel. Co., 205 Cal. App. 4th 841, 857 (2012).
California 2d Dist.: County of San Bernardino v. Walsh, 158 Cal. App. 4th 533, 542 (2007); see also Lectrodryer v. Seoulbank, 77 Cal. App. 4th 723, 726 (2000).
California 3d Dist.: Collins v. eMachines, Inc., 202 Cal. App. 4th 249, 260 (2011) (affirming demurrer to unjust enrichment claim where the plaintiff had adequate remedies at law).
California 4th Dist.: Hernandez v. Lopez, 180 Cal. App. 4th 932, 938 (2009); Troyk v. Farmers Group, Inc., 171 Cal. App. 4th 1305, 1339 (2009).
California 5th Dist.: Allied Grape Growers v. Bronco Wine Co., 203 Cal. App. 3d 432, 444 (1988) (discussing recovery on the grounds of unjust enrichment where the defendant should be estopped from asserting the statute of frauds as a defense) (citing Monarco v. Lo Greco, 35 Cal.2d 621, 623-624 (1950)); Harold A. Newman Co. v. Nero, 31 Cal. App. 3d 490, 497 (1973).
California 6th Dist.: Ajaxo Inc. v. E*Trade Financial Corp., 187 Cal. App. 4th 1295, 1305 (2010); First Nationwide Savings v. Perry, 11 Cal. App. 4th 1657, 1662-63 (1992).
CALIFORNIA FEDERAL COURTS
United States Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit: Ohno v. Yasuma, 723 F.3d 984, 1006 (9th Cir. 2013).
Central District: Epicor Software Corp. v. Alternative Tech. Solutions, Inc., No. SACV 13-00448-CJC(RNBx), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79125, at *18 (C.D. Cal. May 9, 2013).
Eastern District: Lewis v. William Michael Stemler, Inc., No. S-13-0574 KJM EFB, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137885, at *13 (E.D. Cal. Sept. 25, 2013).
Northern District: Florey Inst. of Neuroscience & Mental Health v. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, No. CV 12-6504 SC, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 138904, at *21 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 26, 2013).
Southern District: Azco Biotech, Inc. v. Qiagen, No. 12-CV-2599 BEN (DHB), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 119118, at *37 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 19, 2013).