Legal Memorandum: Damages for Violation of the Consumer Fraud Act

Issue: Is a defendant personally liable for damages sustained by a plaintiff for a violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act; A material affirmative misrepresentation; An intentional omission of material fact
Jurisdiction: New Jersey
Cited Cases: 140 N.J. 43; 458 A.2d 1311; 138 N.J. 2; 347 A.2d 10; 657 A.2d 420; 349 A.2d 574; 482 A.2d 192; 647 A.2d 454
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 08/01/2000

Under Strawn v. Canuso, 140 N.J. 43, 60-61, 657 A.2d 420, 429 (1995), there must be a material affirmative misrepresentation or an intentional omission of material fact in order for there to be a recoverable violation under the Act.  When a person engages in a deliberate concealment he or she may not use as an excuse the argument that the “victims should have been more circumspect or astute.”  Correa v. Maggiore, 196 N.J. Super. 273, 482 A.2d 192, 196 (App. Div. 1984).

In Trustees of Structural Steel & Ornamental Iron Workers Fund v. Hubert, 136 N.J. Super. 501, 347 A.2d 10, 12-13 (App. Div. 1975), the court confirmed that an officer or director who directs or participates in a deceptive act may be held personally liable.

The failure to provide true information about the prior use of the house and the fact that a fire had previously occurred there were material omissions of fact that constitute violations of the Act.  Cox v. Sears Roebuck & Co., 138 N.J. 2, 17-18, 647 A.2d 454, 462 (1994).

When there is a duty to act or speak, silence is not acceptable.  Tobin v. Paparone Constr. Co., 137 N.J. Super. 518, 349 A.2d 574, 577-78 (Law Div. 1975); Berman v. Gurwicz, 189 N.J. Super. 458 A.2d 1311, 1313 (Ch. Ct. 1981), aff’d, 189 N.J. Super. 49, 458 A.2d 1289 […]

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