Your attorney must fulfill certain legal duties when representing you in California or U.S. courts, and breach of these may result in litigation if the actions or failure to act causes you harm. We at the Lange Law Corporation understand the process necessary for holding an attorney liable when he or she commits fraud.
What is fraudulent misrepresentation? There is not one single definition, but the Nevada Law Journal explains that different states include varying elements that identify whether people can sue their attorneys for fraud. In California, you must prove the following:
- Your attorney misrepresented a fact that is significant or essential to your case.
- Your attorney knew the fact was false.
- Your attorney told someone of the fact with the intent that he or she accepts it as true.
- It was reasonable for the listener to rely on the fact.
- The misrepresentation of the fact resulted in damages.
Your attorney generally cannot claim as a defense that you could have learned of the misrepresentation if you had investigated as long as it is reasonable for you to have accepted the fact as presented by him or her.
An attorney does not necessarily have to know for certain that he or she is misrepresenting a fact. It is still fraudulent misrepresentation if your attorney states or implies the fact even though he or she is not confident that it is true, or knows that there is not a basis for the statement or implication provided.
Because fraudulent misrepresentation directly refers to questions of fact, it can be easier to prove than other types of legal malpractice. More information about professional misconduct is available on our webpage.