Legal Memorandum: Claim for Fraudulent Misrepresentation in GA

Issue: What are the elements of a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation under Georgia law?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Fraudulent misrepresentation; Elements of claim
Jurisdiction: Georgia
Cited Cases: 406 S.E. 2d 94; 287 S.E.2d 553; 985 F.2d 1515; 532 S.E.2d 151; 446 S.E. 2d 741
Cited Statutes: O.C.G.A. § 9-3-31
Date: 04/01/2001

           To establish a fraud claim, plaintiff must show (1) a false representation, (2) scienter, (3) the intention to induce one to act or refrain from acting, (4) justifiable reliance by Plaintiff, and (5) damages.  GLW Intern. Corp. v. Yao, 243 Ga. App. 38, 532 S.E.2d 151, 155 (2000). 

In actions for fraud the misrepresentation usually must relate to past or existing facts rather than future events.  See Velten v. Regis B. Lippert, Intercat, Inc., 985 F.2d 1515, 1523 (11th Cir. 1993).

There are, of course, well-recognized exceptions when either (1) the promisor knows that the future event will not take place; or (2) where the promise as to future events is made without a present intention to perform.  Gunin v. Dement, 205 Ga. App. 631, 422 S.E.2d 893, 894 (1992); Lively v. Garnick, 160 Ga. App. 591, 287 S.E.2d 553, 557 (1981).  In such cases a plaintiff is not foreclosed from making a claim for fraud if the false promise was made knowingly or was recklessly made with the intent of deceiving.  Williams v. Crispaire, 225 Ga. App. 172, 483 S.E.2d 653, 656 (1997).

A party’s intention, of course, is a classic fact question.  See Smith v. Onyx Oil & Chem., 218 F.2d at 108 n.2; Velten, 985 F.2d at 1523-24 (jury is entitled to determine whether defendant made promise without present intention to perform).

Fraud claims are governed by the four year statute […]

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