Legal Fraud Attorney
What is Legal Fraud?
While there is some variance among states, fraud generally requires proof of the following nine elements:
- A representation of fact;
- Its falsity;
- Its materiality;
- The representer’s knowledge of its falsity or ignorance of its truth;
- The representer’s intent that it should be acted upon by the person in the manner reasonably contemplated;
- The injured party’s ignorance of its falsity;
- The injured party’s reliance on its truth;
- The injured party’s right to rely thereon; and
- The injured party’s consequent and proximate injury.
Courts split on whether an attorney opinion can satisfy the “representation of fact” requirement. If there is a fiduciary duty to disclose, then a failure to disclose by the attorney satisfies the “representation of fact” requirement.
Fraud is very difficult to prove against attorneys and comes up only rarely. Under Rule 9 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a fraud claim must be pled with a high degree of particularity and specificity. All states have comparable requirements for state courts.
What is Constructive Fraud?
“Constructive fraud” is also a cause of action recognized in a number of states. Its elements vary, with some states treating it as being synonymous with breach of fiduciary duty. Other states treat it as synonymous with ordinary fraud, with the one added requirement that the defendant stood in a special relationship of trust to the plaintiff.