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Intentional Misrepresentation

In Minnesota, a plaintiff must prove the following elements in a fraud case:

1. A false representation of a past or existing material fact that is susceptible of knowledge.  Generally, opinions or predictions about the future are not actionable. However, if the person making the prediction knows that what he says is false, this element is satisfied.

2. The person making the representation either knew it was false, or made the statement as if he had knowledge when in fact he did not know whether the statement was true or false.

3. The representation was made with the intention to induce another person to act in reliance on the representation.

4. The other person did act in reliance on the statement, and

5. the other party suffered pecuniary damage as a result of that reliance.

In addition to compensatory damages, a plaintff proving fraud may be entitled to collect punitive damages if he or she can prove by clear and convincing evidence that the acts of the defendant show deliberate disregard for the rights or safety of others.

Negligent Misrepresentation

A claim for negligent misrepresentation does not require proof of intent (element 2 above). Otherwise, the required elements to prove the offense are the same. Plaintiffs often allege both intentional and negligent misrepresentation in the same case. Punitive damages are not available for negligent misrepresentation.

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