CACI 1900 Intentional Misrepresentation

California Civil Jury Instructions CACI

1900 Intentional Misrepresentation

[Name of plaintiff] claims that [name of defendant] made a false representation that harmed [him/her/nonbinary pronoun/it]. To establish this claim, [name of plaintiff] must prove all of the following:

1.That [name of defendant] represented to [name of plaintiff] that a fact was true;

2.That [name of defendant]’s representation was false;

3.That [name of defendant] knew that the representation was false when [he/she/nonbinary pronoun] made it, or that [he/she/nonbinary pronoun] made the representation recklessly and without regard for its truth;

4.That [name of defendant] intended that [name of plaintiff] rely on the representation;

5.That [name of plaintiff] reasonably relied on [name of defendant]’s representation;

6.That [name of plaintiff] was harmed; and

7.That [name of plaintiff]’s reliance on [name of defendant]’s representation was a substantial factor in causing [his/her/nonbinary pronoun/its] harm.

Directions for Use

Give this instruction in a case in which it is alleged that the defendant made an intentional misrepresentation of fact. (See Civ. Code, § 1710(1).) If element 5 is contested, give CACI No. 1907, Reliance, and CACI No. 1908, Reasonable Reliance. If it is disputed that a representation was made, the jury should be instructed that “a representation may be made orally, in writing, or by nonverbal conduct.” (See Thrifty-Tel, Inc. v. Bezenek (1996) 46 Cal.App.4th 1559, 1567 [54 Cal.Rptr.2d 468].)

The representation must ordinarily be an affirmation of fact, as opposed to an opinion. (See Cohen v. S&S Construction Co. (1983) 151 Cal.App.3d 941, 946 [201 Cal.Rptr. 173].) Opinions are addressed in CACI No. 1904, Opinions as Statements of Fact.

Sources and Authority

Actionable Deceit. Civil Code section 1709.

Intentional Misrepresentation. Civil Code section 1710(1).

Fraud in Contract Formation. Civil Code section 1572.

“The elements of fraud that will give rise to a tort action for deceit are: “ ‘(a) misrepresentation (false representation, concealment, or nondisclosure); (b) knowledge of falsity (or ‘scienter’); (c) intent to defraud, i.e., to induce reliance; (d) justifiable reliance; and (e) resulting damage.’ ” (Engalla v. Permanente Medical Group, Inc. (1997) 15 Cal.4th 951, 974 [64 Cal.Rptr.2d 843, 938 P.2d 903], internal quotation marks omitted.)

“A complaint for fraud must allege the following elements: (1) a knowingly false representation by the defendant; (2) an intent to deceive or induce reliance; (3) justifiable reliance by the plaintiff; and (4) resulting damages.” (Service by Medallion, Inc. v. Clorox Co. (1996) 44 Cal.App.4th 1807, 1816 [52 Cal.Rptr.2d 650] [combining misrepresentation and scienter as a single element].)

“Puffing,” or sales talk, is generally considered opinion, unless it involves a representation of product safety. (Hauter v. Zogarts (1975) 14 Cal.3d 104, 112 [120 Cal.Rptr. 681, 534 P.2d 377].)

“Fraud is an intentional tort; it is the element of fraudulent intent, or intent to deceive, that distinguishes it from actionable negligent misrepresentation and from nonactionable innocent misrepresentation. It is the element of intent which makes fraud actionable, irrespective of any contractual or fiduciary duty one party might owe to the other.” (City of Atascadero v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 445, 482 [80 Cal.Rptr.2d 329], internal citations omitted.)

“[F]raudulent intent is an issue for the trier of fact to decide.” (Beckwith v. Dahl (2012) 205 Cal.App.4th 1039, 1061 [141 Cal.Rptr.3d 142].)

“[T]he trial court failed to consider that a cause of action based in fraud may arise from conduct that is designed to mislead, and not only from verbal or written statements.” (Tenet Healthsystem Desert, Inc. v. Blue Cross of California (2016) 245 Cal.App.4th 821, 839 [199 Cal.Rptr.3d 901].)

“[A] cause of action for misrepresentation requires an affirmative statement, not an implied assertion.” (RSB Vineyards, LLC v. Orsi (2017) 15 Cal.App.5th 1089, 1102 [223 Cal.Rptr.3d 458].)

“ ‘[F]alse representations made recklessly and without regard for their truth in order to induce action by another are the equivalent of misrepresentations knowingly and intentionally uttered.’ ” (Engalla, supra, 15 Cal.4th at p. 974, quoting Yellow Creek Logging Corp. v. Dare (1963) 216 Cal.App.2d 50, 55 [30 Cal.Rptr. 629].)

“[T]here are two causation elements in a fraud cause of action. First, the plaintiff’s actual and justifiable reliance on the defendant’s misrepresentation must have caused him to take a detrimental course of action. Second, the detrimental action taken by the plaintiff must have caused his alleged damage.” (Beckwith, supra, 205 Cal.App.4th at p. 1062.)

“A ‘complete causal relationship’ between the fraud or deceit and the plaintiff’s damages is required. … Causation requires proof that the defendant’s conduct was a “ ‘substantial factor’ ” in bringing about the harm to the plaintiff.” (Williams v. Wraxall (1995) 33 Cal.App.4th 120, 132 [39 Cal.Rptr.2d 658], internal citations omitted.)

“ ‘ “Misrepresentation, even maliciously committed, does not support a cause of action unless the plaintiff suffered consequential damages.” ’ ” [Citation.]’ [Citation.] Indeed, ‘ “ ‘[a]ssuming … a claimant’s reliance on the actionable misrepresentation, no liability attaches if the damages sustained were otherwise inevitable or due to unrelated causes.’ [Citation.]” [Citation.] [If the defrauded plaintiff would have suffered the alleged damage even in the absence of the fraudulent inducement, causation cannot be alleged and a fraud cause of action cannot be sustained.’ ” (Orcilla v. Big Sur, Inc. (2016) 244 Cal.App.4th 982, 1008 [198 Cal.Rptr.3d 715].)

“The law is well established that actionable misrepresentations must pertain to past or existing material facts. Statements or predictions regarding future events are deemed to be mere opinions which are not actionable.” (Cansino v. Bank of America (2014) 224 Cal.App.4th 1462, 1469 [169 Cal.Rptr.3d 619], internal citation omitted.)

Secondary Sources

5 Witkin, Summary of California Law (11th ed. 2017) Torts, §§ 294, 883, 939, 943, 944, 949
3 Levy et al., California Torts, Ch. 40, Fraud and Deceit and Other Business Torts, §§ 40.02, 40.05 (Matthew Bender)
23 California Forms of Pleading and Practice, Ch. 269, Fraud and Deceit, § 269.19 (Matthew Bender)
10 California Points and Authorities, Ch. 105, Fraud and Deceit, § 105.80 et seq. (Matthew Bender)
California Civil Practice: Torts §  22:12 (Thomson Reuters)