Vanderbilt Law Review


John W. Wade

First Page



The title, Restitution, is a comparatively new one. Over a period of many years there grew up separately a number of distinct legal and equitable remedies--quasi-contract, constructive trust, equitable lien, reformation, rescission and others. Only recently has it been perceived that a pervading general principle underlies all of these remedies--the principle that "a person who has been unjustly enriched at the expense of another is required to make restitution to the other." Now that these several types of relief are being classed together it is more generally realized that their composite whole involves a very broad field of the law. During the past year there were ten Tennessee cases involving restitution and unjust enrichment...

Two federal cases involve application of statutes giving rise to rights in the nature of restitution. Allbright Bros. v. Hull-Dobbs Co. involves an Arkansas statute providing for contribution between joint tortfeasors. Hutto v. Benson" involves the statutory right of an employer (or its insurance carrier) which has paid a workmen's compensation claim, to recover from a third party who had negligently injured the employee. The restitutionary remedies of indemnity and of subrogation are analogous and have been held applicable 'to these facts without the need of a statute. Both cases involved statutes from other states, and they are discussed more in detail in the article on Conflict of Laws.