From Florida Legal Wiki
- “A constructive trust is one raised by equity in respect to property which has been acquired by fraud, or where, though acquired originally without fraud, it is against equity that it should be retained by him who holds it.” Quinn v. Phipps, 93 Fla. 805, 113 So. 419, 422 (1927). Constructive trusts are akin to an express trust in that a bifurcation of title occurs; bare legal title to the property is held by the possessor of the property while the beneficial interest is held by the person entitled to the property. In re Shepard, 29 B.R. 928 (Bkrtcy.M.D.Fla.1983). However, unlike an express trust or a resulting trust, a constructive trust arises solely by operation of law. Palmland Villas I Condominium Ass'n, Inc. v. Taylor, 390 So.2d 123 (Fla. 4th DCA 1980). Thus, a constructive trust is a remedial device with dual objectives: to restore property to the rightful owner and to prevent unjust enrichment. Abreu v. Amaro, 534 So.2d 771 (Fla. 3d DCA 1988).
- To impose a constructive trust, there must be (1) a promise, express or implied, (2) transfer of the property and reliance thereon, (3) a confidential relationship and (4) unjust enrichment. Id. at 772. The person seeking to impose a constructive trust must prove these elements by clear and convincing evidence. Id. However, similar to any equitable remedy, the enforcement of a constructive trust is tempered by equitable defenses, including laches and estoppel. See generally Steinhardt v. Steinhardt, 445 So.2d 352 (Fla. 3d DCA), rev. denied sub nom., 456 So.2d 1181 (Fla.1984); Mills v. Holcomb, 389 So.2d 223 (Fla. 5th DCA 1980), rev. denied, 399 So.2d 1143 (Fla.1981).
Provence v. Palm Beach Taverns, Inc., 676 So.2d 1022 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996)