Laws prohibit certain types of practices in an attempt to defraud or mislead consumers and others. False advertising, employing methods of price discrimination, predatory lending, and more can cause companies to pay punitive damages to plaintiffs.
Since anyone can allege that they were the victim of a “fraud,” California law places a heightened pleading standard. “In California, fraud must be pled specifically; general and conclusory allegations do not suffice.” Lazar v. Superior Court (1996) 12 Cal.4th 631, 645. This means that it is “[a] plaintiff’s burden in asserting a fraud claim…[to] ‘allege the names of the persons who made the allegedly fraudulent representations, their authority to speak, to whom they spoke, what they said or wrote, and when it was said or written.’”
Intentional misrepresentation requires the following elements:
- That the defendant represented to plaintiff that a fact was true;
- That defendant’s representation was false
- That defendant knew that the representation was false when he/she made it
- That defendant intended that plaintiff rely on the representation;
- That plaintiff reasonably relied on defendant’s representation;
- That plaintiff was harmed; and
- That plaintiff’s reliance on defendant’s representation was a substantial factor in causing his/her/its harm.
See CACI No. 1900; see, generally, 34A Cal. Jur. 3d Fraud and Deceit § 9.
The tort of deceit or fraud requires: “(a) misrepresentation (false representation, concealment, or nondisclosure); (b) knowledge of falsity (or ‘scienter’); (c) intent to defraud, i.e., to induce reliance; (d) justifiable reliance; and (e) resulting damage.” Engalla v. Permanente Medical Group, Inc. (1997) 15 Cal.4th 951, 974; see also Molko v. Holy Spirit Ass’n (1988) 46 Cal.3d 1092, 1108.
Sometimes the tort known as fraud or deceit is stated with four elements, rather than five: (1) a knowingly false representation by the defendant; (2) an intent to deceive or induce reliance; (3) justifiable reliance by the plaintiff; and (4) resulting damages. See Service by Medallion, Inc. v. Clorox Co. (1996) 44 Cal.App.4th 1807, 1816.
Contact Thaler Law
Fraud cases are complicated, and there are many benefits and challenges to this legal process. Your situation is unique, and regardless of the outcome, you deserve the right to enforce your legal rights. Contact an experienced attorney from Thaler Law who can help you understand your legal rights regarding your fraud case, and what your next best steps should be. Contact us at 714-869-2900 or online today for your free consultation.