Fraud requires an intent to deceive and have knowledge of the deception. In comparison to a contract, a contract will be rendered void if there has been fraud. Thereby, recission is a common remedy for contract fraud.
Civil fraud requires a proximate result. Regardless of how egregious or harmful misrepresentation may be, if the Plaintiff does not rely on it or there is no injury connected to the misrepresentation, then the Plaintiff is not entitled to relief. In a civil fraud case, compensatory and punitive damages are possible remedies.
Are there different types of Fraud?
Yes. There are several different types of fraud as can be seen below. If you feel that you or someone you love are victims of fraud but are unsure how to proceed, please contact the Horton Law Group, P.A. to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.
- Fraudulent Misrepresentation. Under Florida Law, there are four elements of fraudulent misrepresentation: (1) a false statement concerning a material fact; (2) the representor’s knowledge that the representation is false; (3) an intention that the representation induce another to act on it; and (4) consequent injury by the party acting in reliance on the representation.’” Butler v. Yusem, 44 So. 3d 102, 105 (Fla. 2010).
- Negligent Misrepresentation or Fraudulent Inducement. A claim for negligent misrepresentation requires the Plaintiff to prove these four elements: (1) the Defendant committed a false statement of material fact that they believed to be true but was in fact false (a misrepresentation); (2) the Defendant should have known the representation was false; (3) the Defendant intended to induce the association to act on the misrepresentation, and (4) the Plaintiff acted in justifiable reliance on the misrepresentation causing injury to the association.
- Fraud. Generally, in order to state a cause of action for fraud or fraud in the inducement, the complaining party must allege: (1) a false statement of fact; (2) known by the Defendant to be false at the time it was made; (3) made for the purpose of inducing the Plaintiff to act in reliance thereon; (4) action by the Plaintiff in reliance on the correctness of the representation; and (5) resulting damage to the Plaintiff.
- Constructive Fraud. In order to prevail in a constructive fraud case, the Plaintiff must prove, (1) Plaintiff and Defendant share a confidential or fiduciary relationship; (2) the Defendant abused the relationship or took unconscionable advantage of Plaintiff; (3) the Plaintiff suffered damages as a result.
In order to prevail in a Fraudulent Misrepresentation and Negligent Misrepresentation case, you must prove:
- The Defendant had the intent to induce the Plaintiff to act on a misrepresentation.
- The Plaintiff actually relied on and acted on the misrepresentation.
If I win, what can I recover?
A victim of Fraudulent Misrepresentation or Negligent Fraudulent Misrepresentation must suffer damages in order to prevail. A victim of fraud can recover compensatory damages, special damages, attorney fees and even punitive damages as well. If the Fraudulent Misrepresentation arises out of a contract, the prevailing party may recover attorney’s fees if noted in the contract. Padgett v. Kessinger, 190 So.3d 105, 107(Fla. 4th DCA 2015). In Florida, punitive damages may not be more than three times (3) more than the judgment amount.
What are punitive damages?
Punitive damages act as a penalty for particularly egregious behavior. Furthermore, punitive damages are generally not recoverable for a breach of contract unless it is accompanied by a separate and independent tort claim – such as fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation. Ghodrati v. Miami Paneling Corp., 770 So.2d 181(Fla. 3d DCA 2000).
Per Florida Statute § 768.72, a Defendant may be held liable for punitive damages only if the trier of fact (the jury), based on clear and convincing evidence, finds that the defendant was personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence:
(a) “Intentional misconduct” means that the Defendant had actual knowledge of the wrongfulness of the conduct and the high probability that injury or damage to the claimant would result and, despite that knowledge, intentionally pursued that course of conduct, resulting in injury or damage.”
(b) “Gross negligence” means that the Defendant’s conduct was so reckless or wanting in care that it constituted a conscious disregard or indifference to the life, safety, or rights of persons exposed to such conduct.”
What is Civil Theft?
In Florida, there is a powerful civil remedy to punish anyone who has unlawfully takes money or property from you or your business. If you are a victim of civil theft, under Florida Statute 772.11, you have the right to file a lawsuit for three times the amount of actual damages you suffered (with a minimum of $200), plus attorney fees, and court costs.
How do I prove civil theft?
Under Fla. Stat § 812.014, the elements of a claim for civil theft in Florida are:
- Obtained or used, or endeavored to obtain or use, the Plaintiff’s property
- With felonious intent;
- Either temporarily or permanently to a) deprive plaintiff of its right to or a benefit from the property, or b) appropriate the property to the Defendant’s own use or to the use of a person not entitled to the property.
The Burden of Proof is “clear and convincing” evidence. The statute of limitations to file a civil theft claim is five years from the time when the conversion or theft took place and/or was discovered (or should have been discovered). Bankruptcy does not discharge a Judgment for civil theft.
If you or someone you love is a victim of civil theft, contact the Horton Law Group, P.A. to schedule your free 30-mintue consultation. There are statutory pre-suit notices that are required prior to filing a civil theft lawsuit.
Why Hire the Horton Law Group, P.A?
The principal partner at the Horton Law Group, P.A., Attorney Sommer C. Horton, has been litigating cases for 20 years. She is an experienced and aggressive estate litigator. She is highly regarded for her creativeness, strategic judgment and her uncanny ability to deliver persuasive legal arguments in the courtroom. She has a tremendous skill for being an aggressive advocate for her clients, while being one who understands and appreciates how trying litigation can be, thus, she is extremely sensitive to her clients’ needs.
Ms. Horton is passionate about the law and believes in seeking justice for her clients in an ethical and economic manner. Ms. Horton fights for each and every one of her clients – every step of the way. Ms. Horton will spend time with you to make sure you understand the law and understand your rights.
The Horton Law Group, P.A. is a boutique civil litigation law firm that only takes on a limited number of cases so that personal attention can be given to every client. Make the right call – schedule a free 30-minute consultation with Ms. Horton. You can make an appointment by calling 561-299-0018 or emailing email@example.com.