Caregiver Services: Quantum Meruit

Caregiver Services: Quantum Meruit

A care giver was awarded $273,000 for care giving services provided to her mother for five years in Tarantino v Galvanometer 2017 3535 for quantum merit (fees for services).

A claim for quantum meruit is simply one of the established categories of unjust enrichment. (Kerr v Baranow 2011 SCC 10)

It is a claim that there has been unjust enrichment, and that the remedy should be a monetary remedy calculated on the basis of fee for services rather than a proprietary remedy such as constructive trust over a specific property.

Where valuable services are rendered without the existence of a contract and it is obvious those services were not intended to be gratuitous, the law will impose an obligation to pay for the value of the services without implying the contract or necessarily require the establishment of an employment relationship. (Deglman Guaranty Trust Co. Of Canada 1954 SCC 725)

The law of restitution stands apart from the law of contract. Obligation to restore benefits unjustly retained does not arise from there being any implied contract between the parties, but rests on an obligation imposed by law to prevent unjust enrichment.

3 elements of unjust enrichment:

To make a claim of unjust enrichment, the plaintiff must establish three elements:

  • an enrichment of or benefit to the defendant,
  • a corresponding depravation of the plaintiff,
  • and the absence of a juristic reason for the enrichment. (Kerr v Barnow at para. 32)

For enrichment or benefit, plaintiff must show that there was a benefit which has enriched the defendant and which can be restored to the plaintiff in specie or by money.

For a corresponding deprivation the plaintiff must show not simply that the defendant has been enriched, but also that the enrichment corresponds to a deprivation which the plaintiff has suffered.

Finally the plaintiff must show there is no reason in law or justice for the defendants retention of the benefits conferred by the plaintiff, making its retention unjust in the circumstances of the case. Juristic reasons include gift, contract or disposition of law.

As is often the case in estate litigation, a party can make a claim for quantum meruit against the estate of a deceased person for services rendered to the deceased during their lifetime. Deglman ibid.

A party seeking a claim for quantum meruit compensation should provide evidence establishing the value of the services rendered. This is often done by calling evidence of commercial caregiving services for their hourly rate which is often in the range of $25 per hour. In difficult and prolonged caregiving situations it may be advisable to seek the expert opinion of a Rehabilitation therapist.

In Tarantino the deceased required 24-hour care and a range of evidence was given to the effect that a caregiver charged on average $24 an hour, and RPN was $44 per hour, and a registered nurse $55 per hour.

The evidence of market rates for general attendant care and personal support workers was in the range of $24 per hour.

The plaintiff was awarded damages based on five years of 24 hour care which totalled $273,000 based on the Plaintiff being a personal support caregiver.