Montana law specifically recognizes that a lawsuit may be brought for fraud. As in most states, fraud in Montana may be “either actual or constructive.” In oversimplified terms, actual fraud requires an intent to deceive someone, a “lie.” Constructive fraud, on the other hand, does not.
To prevail in a case of actual fraud in Montana, a party must prove nine things.
- A representation was made;
- It was false;
- It was material;
- The person who made the representation knew it was false;
- The person who made the representation intended that it be relied on;
- The person who heard the representation did not know that it was false;
- The person who heard the representation relied on it;
- The person who heard the representation had a right to rely on it; and
- The person who heard the representation was injured as a result of relying on it.
Each and every one of these elements must be proven to win.
Constructive fraud does not require that a lie be told. Instead, in Montana, the basis of constructive fraud is that the person who made the misstatement knew it was false. It does not matter, for a constructive fraud case, whether the person speaking intended to defraud the other person. Constructive fraud can arise when the speaker omits important facts or creates a false impression.
Although fraud is frequently claimed in property transactions, fraud is actually a separate claim for civil damages, which is based in tort. Claims of fraud and constructive fraud have been pursued nationwide in many areas of law, including employment law and various areas of contract law.
At Tipp & Buley, we believe in obtaining full and fair recoveries for our client’s losses. If you’ve been injured by the fault of another, it’s important to work with an attorney who fully understands Montana tort law so that all possible legal theories are pursued in your lawsuit. Call us today at 406-389-4215 or visit us online to set up a free initial consultation.