Many lawsuits involve a variety of different claims. In fact, most plaintiffs allege anything and everything they can in the hopes that at least one claim will be successful. In the business world, it is common for a plaintiff to allege that fraud occurred when the claim is really a simple breach of contract allegation. Of course, alleging fraud is also a tactic that is sued to attempt to gain leverage in the lawsuit. As a result, it is essential that your business defense attorney takes immediate action to have any meritless fraud allegations dismissed. There are several defenses available to a claim of fraud:
Failure to prove material misrepresentation
In order to prove a fraud claim, the plaintiff must establish a material misrepresentation of presently existing or past fact. It is common for a plaintiff to not adequately plead or prove this element. For example, if a seller promises to deliver its product at a date in the future and breaks its promise, the statement is not about a presently existing or past fact. Most broken promises are not sufficient to support a fraud claim, but they could be the basis for a breach of contract claim.
If the fraud claim is only supported by a statement of opinion or puffery, there is no statement of fact. Without a statement of fact, there cannot be an actual misrepresentation.
When a plaintiff alleges fraud, there is a heightened pleading requirement. The allegations of fraud must be pled with “particularity.” It is common for a plaintiff to make conclusory statements in the petition or complaint without setting forth the particular facts that support the fraud claim. As a result, the fraud claim should fail for failure to properly plead it.
If your business has been sued for fraud or breach of contract, the legal team at Faro & Crowder can help. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve businesses in Palm Bay, Viera, Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach, Eau Gallie, Titusville and the Space Coast.