Restitution – Constructive Trust Relief for Breach of Oral Contract to Create Trust in Land

Plaintiff mining company sued to impose a constructive trust on mineral interests purchased by the defendant employee in breach of his oral agreement with the company. The agreement included a promise to hold any property so acquired in trust for the employer at his election. Ruling that this agreement was unenforceable under the Oklahoma statute of frauds, the trial court relied on the defendant’s status as an ordinary employee without duties relating to the acquisition of mineral interests or access to confidential information, and gave judgment for the defendant. On appeal, held, affirmed. Without proof of positive fraud or breach of fiduciary duty, the breach of an oral agreement to hold land in trust does not give rise to a constructive trust. Amerada Petroleum Corporation v. Burline, (10th Cir. 1956) 231 F. (2d) 862.