If you purchased a residential or commercial property, and you ended up getting something different than what you thought were getting – which can include anything from omissions regarding defects with the property to inflated or fake rent rolls on a commercial property – you most likely want out of the deal, pure and simple. The same goes for a seller who was misled by a buyer who pulls out of a deal on the eve of closing after it becomes clear he lied about the financing.
But, while the end result was that you were misled about a real estate deal, what remedies you receive in court or settlement over your dispute can vary greatly on whether your attorney can prove that there was not only a misrepresentation but also that you were defrauded by the other party.
Punitive Damages are Available in a California Real Estate Fraud Case
In short, the key difference for the plaintiff who can successfully prove a real estate fraud case is that the party can receive punitive damages in addition to the other remedies available in a more straightforward misrepresentation case, in which the plaintiff is generally limited to winning the benefit of the bargain (which can include invalidating and unwinding the deal) and associated costs.
Thus, it is important to work with an experienced real estate litigation attorney who has the experience and skills to bring and win a real estate fraud action.
The Elements of Winning a CA Real Estate Fraud Case
To win a fraud action against another party in a real estate deal in California, it will be necessary for your attorney to prove by a preponderance of the evidence (meaning it is more than likely true) that the other party:
- Made a material (meaning significant) misrepresentation relating to the property, and this misrepresentation can come in the form of a false representation, a concealment of information, or a failure to disclose;
- The other party knew that a representation was false, or that an important fact was concealed or not disclosed;
- The other party intended to defraud you by making the false representation, concealment, or nondisclosure (meaning the other party intended that you would go forward with the deal via his wrongful action);
- You as the complaining party justifiably relied on the misrepresentation (or concealment/nondisclosure) in going forward with the deal; and
- You suffered damages as a result.
While the misrepresentation, your reliance, and your damages may be relatively straightforward in some cases (which, by themselves, can potentially form the basis of a successful breach of contract action), proving that the other party knew the representation was false and that they intended to defraud can be challenging.
An experienced real estate litigation attorney, however, will rely on sophisticated investigative and discovery methods to identify and locate evidence relating to such intent, and aggressively seek out the highest financial recovery possible on your behalf.
Contact the Real Estate Litigation Attorneys at Wagenseller Law Firm
At Wagenseller Law Firm in downtown Los Angeles, we provide full legal services to individuals and businesses in business and real estate litigation matters. Contact Wagenseller Law Firm today to schedule a consultation to discuss your real estate matter.