Legal Memorandum: Fraud Allegation with Particularity

Issue: May an action for fraud be pursued without stating the circumstances giving rise to the alleged fraud for hidden defects in Louisiana?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Fraud; Circumstances hidden; No cause of action
Jurisdiction: Louisiana
Cited Cases: 509 So. 2d 798; 778 So. 2d 1265; 303 So. 2d 598; 160 So. 2d 237; 392 So. 2d 177; 763 F. Supp. 853; 659 So. 2d 835
Cited Statutes: La. Civ. Code art. 2520, art. 2530
Date: 10/01/2009

It is well settled that fraud must be alleged with particularity.  When the plaintiff submits a petition based on fraud but does not state the circumstances giving rise to the alleged fraud with particularity, the plaintiff fails to state a cause of action.  Scott v. Ware, 160 So. 2d 237, 240 (La. App. 2 Cir. 1/9/64) (holding that the plaintiff’s pleadings were general and failed to comply with the requirement that fraud be pleaded with specificity).  Accord McLavy v. Am. Legion Hous. Corp., 79 So. 2d 316, 321 (La. 1955); Pete v. Estate of Pete, 253 So. 2d 650, 651-52 (La. App. 3 Cir. 10/22/71). 

See White v. Lamar Realty, Inc., 303 So. 2d 598, 600-01 (La. App. 2 Cir. 11/7/74).  In White, the court based its conclusion on this principle:  “[T]he principle appears settled that where defects in an object purchased are apparent and discoverable on a simple inspection, and where a buyer inspects the property before the sale, he will not be heard to complain of fraud.”  Id. at 601.  Because the “‘plaintiff has alleged that he inspected the property before the sale and he has complained only of defects which should have been patent and discoverable upon a simple inspection, we find that he has failed to state a cause of action under which he could recover.'”  Id. (citations omitted).

For example, simply because a house has suffered water damage from a large rainfall does not mean that the plaintiff has stated […]

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