Equitable Estoppel North Carolina
A party invoking the doctrine of equitable estoppel has the burden of proving the following elements:
"(1) the conduct to be estopped must amount to false representation or concealment of material fact or at least which is reasonably calculated to convey the impression that the facts are other than and inconsistent with those which the party afterwards attempted to assert;
(2) Intention or expectation on the party being estopped that such conduct shall be acted upon by the other party or conduct which at least is calculated to induce a reasonably prudent person to believe such conduct was intended or expected to be relied and acted upon;
(3) Knowledge, actual or constructive, of the real facts by the party being estopped;
(4) Lack of knowledge of the truth as to the facts in question by the party claiming estoppel;
(5) Reliance on the part of the party claiming estoppel upon the conduct of the party being sought to be estopped;
(6) Action based thereon of such a character as to change his position prejudicially."
State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Atlantic Indemnity Co., 122 N.C. App. 67, 75, 468 S.E.2d 570, 574-75 (1996) (citations omitted).
A party cannot rely on equitable estoppel if it "was put on inquiry as to the truth and had available the means for ascertaining it." Hawkins v. Finance Corp., 238 N.C. 174, 179, 77 S.E.2d 669, 673 (1953) (citation omitted).Quasi-estoppel is based on a party's acceptance of the benefits of a transaction, and provides "'where one having the right to accept or reject a transaction or instrument takes and retains benefits thereunder, he ratifies it, and cannot avoid its obligation or effect by taking a position inconsistent with it.'" Carolina Medicorp v. Bd. of Trustees of the State Medical Plan, 118 N.C. App. 485, 492, 456 S.E.2d 116, 120 (1995).