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There are several different types of fraudulent misrepresentation. These can depend on several factors, including the circumstances surrounding the agreement, as well as state laws. For instance, the history of dealings between the parties can often influence a court’s decision as to whether fraudulent misrepresentation has occurred.
As mentioned, fraudulent misrepresentation can be accomplished through many forms of communication, such as writing, speech, body movements, or even silence. Some common types of fraudulent misrepresentation may include:
- Making a statement to the other party that is clearly false;
- Making a statement that is partially true (a “half lie”); this means that some parts of the statement may be true while other aspects of it may be false;
- Omitting details in a way that creates false beliefs in the other person’s understanding; or
- Being completely silent on a subject or failing to disclose important information (especially where they are legally required to provide the information).
Bear in mind that a party sometimes doesn’t need to know that a statement is false in order to be found liable for a contract violation. For instance, if they represent information that they should have known to be false due to their training or background, then it might be factored into a court’s decision in a lawsuit.
In many instances, there may be defenses available to a person who is being charged with fraudulent misrepresentation. These will depend on many factors, including state laws and the exact nature of the misrepresentation. Some common types of defenses for this legal issue may include:
- Lack of Evidence: As mentioned, the elements of proof for fraudulent misrepresentation must all be met in order to prove a person liable. If there is not enough evidence to prove a particular element, the defendant might not be found liable. This is one of the more common defenses to fraudulent misrepresentation. For instance, if there is no evidence to show that the defendant actually made a fraudulent misrepresentation, it may serve as a defense. Another example is if the plaintiff didn’t actually suffer any damages.
- Laches: If the plaintiff waited too long to file their misrepresentation claim, it may serve as a defense under a laches theory of law. Most fraudulent misrepresentation claims are associated with a statute of limitations (i.e. a filing deadline). Thus it’s important to bring a lawsuit as soon as you suspect you have a claim.
- Coercion/Duress: It may serve as a defense if the defendant was forced to make the fraudulent statement under threat of harm or under conditions of duress (for instance, being threatened that they will be fired if they don’t make the fraudulent statement). This is a somewhat more rare defense as conditions such as these are not all that common.
Various other defenses may apply. These will all depend on state laws and the attorney’s ability to research local laws and craft an appropriate legal strategy. Fraudulent misrepresentation is a serious issue that can have many legal consequences. If you have been the victim of fraudulent misrepresentation, or are involved in any way with such a dispute, contact us today!
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