Common law fraud is a cause of action that usually exists independently of a breach of contract action. North Carolina courts generally disfavor the filing of such claims in what otherwise would be a breach of contract case.
However, businesses can successfully bring fraud claims under circumstances in which it can be established that a defendant acted with intent to defraud. For example, if a party fails to perform under a contract, a plaintiff generally cannot successfully plead that the party’s failure to perform equates to an act of fraud. However, if the plaintiff can plead with specificity that a defendant never had any intent or capability of performing, e.g., they did not have sufficient manpower to meet a construction deadline, then a fraud claim may be an option.
In order to establish fraud, a plaintiff must plead and prove: 1) defendant’s false statement of material fact; 2) defendant’s knowledge that the statement was false; 3) defendant’s intent that the plaintiff rely upon the false statement; 4) plaintiff’s reliance on the statement; and 5) damage to plaintiff as a result of reliance on the statement.
Let the attorneys at Roth Law Group help you evaluate your potential claim for fraud by calling (919) 410-8107 for a free consultation.