occurs when a person breaches some legal or equitable duty to another
person. The breach must be one that
deceives others, violates public or private confidence, or injures public
interest in some way. Constructive fraud
differs from ordinary fraud or intentional misrepresentation in that in a
constructive fraud case the plaintiff does not need to prove that the defendant
intended to defraud the plaintiff.
Instead, the court essentially holds the defendant to a standard of care
based on a relationship of trust and confidence between the plaintiff and the
In a constructive
fraud claim, the plaintiff must prove three things:
1. That there exists some legal or equitable
duty that the defendant owes to the plaintiff.
This duty usually arises out of the relationship between the
parties. It is a fiduciary or
2. That the defendant breached the duty.
3. That the defendant’s conduct deceives or
violates a confidence or injures the public interest.
A plaintiff is not
required to prove that the defendant intended to deceive the plaintiff. The plaintiff must prove the elements listed
above by clear and convincing evidence.
If the plaintiff can
establish that there is a confidential relationship, the burden shifts to the
dominant or trusted party to show that his or her conduct was proper.
In a constructive
fraud case, the court can award both compensatory and punitive damages. In order to obtain purnitive damages,
however, the plaintiff needs to prove actual malice.
The attorneys at Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C. have years of litigation experience including cases involving
constructive fraud. If you believe that
you have a claim for constructive fraud, or if you have been sued for constructive
fraud, we’d be happy to sit down and discuss your case with you.
The information contained on this page is provided as general
information and does not constitute legal advice. The experienced attorneys at Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C. can assist you if you have, or believe you may have, a constructive
fraud claim. We’d be happy to sit down
with you and review your situation and provide appropriate advice. Call today for a no-obligation
consultation. There is no consultation
fee for cases involving personal injury.
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