Law Offices of John Michael Jensen
We litigate cases involving misrepresentation.
Misrepresentation in California law refers to a false statement that induces someone to enter into a contract. Misrepresentation can be a basis for civil liability if it causes harm. Here are the key elements typically needed to establish a claim of misrepresentation under California law:
- False Representation: The defendant must have made a false representation of a past or existing material fact.
- Knowledge of Falsity or Lack of Belief in Truth: The defendant must have known that the representation was false or made the statement without a sufficient basis for believing it to be true.
- Intent to Induce Reliance: The misrepresentation must have been made with the intent to induce the plaintiff to rely on it.
- Justifiable Reliance: The plaintiff must have actually and justifiably relied on the false representation. Reliance is justifiable if the plaintiff had reasons to believe the representation was true.
- Damages: The plaintiff must have suffered damages as a result of relying on the misrepresentation.
Misrepresentation can be either fraudulent, negligent, or innocent:
- Fraudulent misrepresentation (also known as “deceit”) occurs when the false representation is made knowingly, or with reckless disregard for the truth, and with the intention to deceive.
- Negligent misrepresentation occurs when the person making the statement does so without reasonable grounds for believing it to be true.
- Innocent misrepresentation occurs when the false statement is made without knowledge of its falsity but with due care.
The remedies for misrepresentation can include rescission of the contract (which means the contract is undone and the parties are restored to their positions before the contract was made), or damages to compensate for the losses suffered. In cases of fraudulent misrepresentation, punitive damages may also be awarded if the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious.
California courts also consider the principle of “puffery,” which is an exaggerated, vague, or subjective claim about a product or service that cannot be objectively evaluated for truthfulness. Statements considered to be puffery do not constitute misrepresentation because no reasonable person would rely on them.
It is important to consult with a legal professional or refer to specific California statutes and case law for more detailed and specific information, as interpretations of the law can change over time through legislation and court rulings.