PLEADING FRAUD or and MISREPRESENTATION IN A COMPLAINT:

14 Sep

PLEADING FRAUD / MISREPRESENTATION IN A COMPLAINT:

In California, fraud must be pled in the complaint specifically.  General and conclusionary allegations are not sufficient. (Stansfield v. Starkey (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 59, 74; Nagy v. Nagy (1989) 210 Cal.App.3d 1262, 1268)

Unlike most causes of action where the “the policy of liberal construction of the pleadings,” fraud requires particularity, that is, “pleading facts which show how, when, where, to whom, and by what means the representations were tendered.” (Stansfield v. Starkey (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 59, 73; Lazar v. Superior Court (1996) 12 Cal.4th 631, 645.)

Every element of a fraud cause of action must be alleged both factually and specifically. (Hall v. Department of Adoptions (1975) 47 Cal.App.3d 898, 904; Cooper v. Equity General Insurance (1990) 219 Cal.App.3d 1252, 1262.)

In a case where misrepresentations are repeated often, the plaintiff must at least allege a representative selection of the misrepresentations sufficient enough for the trial court to ascertain if the statements were material and actionable. (Goldrich v. Natural Y Surgical Specialties, Inc. (1994) 25 Cal.App.4th 772, 782-783; Committee on Children’s Television, Inc. v. General Foods Corp. (1983) 35 Cal.3d 197, 216 and 218.)

Less specificity and particularity is required when the allegations indicate that the defendant necessarily possesses full information concerning the facts of the controversy or “when the facts lie more in the knowledge of the opposite party ….” (Bradley v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co. (1973) 30 Cal.App.3d 818, 825; Turner v. Milstein (1951) 103 Cal.App.2d 651, 658; Committee On Children’s Television, Inc. v. General Foods Corp. (1983) 35 Cal.3d 197, 216-217.)

 

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