Demurrer to a cause of action for fraud in California

Filing a demurrer to a cause of action for fraud in California is the topic of this blog post.

This blog post will focus on the filing of a general demurrer to a cause of action for fraud in California.

A general demurrer is made on one of two grounds, failure to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action, and the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction.  Code of Civil Procedure section 430.80 states that the grounds for a general demurrer are never waived.

Code of Civil Procedure section 430.10 states, in pertinent part:  “The party against whom a complaint or cross-complaint has been filed may object, by demurrer or answer as provided in section 430.30, to the pleading on any one or more of the following grounds…(e) the pleading does not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. (f) The pleading is uncertain.  As used in this subdivision, “uncertain” includes ambiguous and unintelligible.  (g) In an action founded upon a contract, it cannot be ascertained from the pleading whether the contract is written, is oral, or is implied by conduct.”

Grounds for a demurrer to a cause of action for fraud in California.

Filing a demurrer to a cause of action for fraud in California is fairly common due to two factors.

Many complaints that contain causes of action for fraud are poorly drafted and the allegations of fraud are not alleged with the specificity required for a fraud cause of action.

Both the California Supreme Court and the California Courts of Appeal have stated in published decisions that a cause of action for fraud must allege the following elements: (1) a knowingly false representation by the defendant; (2) an intent to deceive or induce reliance; (3) justifiable reliance by the plaintiff; and (4) resulting damages.  Every element must be specifically pleaded, this means that general and conclusory allegations will not suffice.  The particularity requirement necessitates pleading facts that show how, when, where, to whom, and by what means the representations were tendered.

One California Court of Appeal stated in one published decision that Courts enforce the specificity requirement for two purposes: “The first purpose is to give notice to the defendant with sufficiently definite charges that the defendant can meet them. [Citation.] The second is to permit a court to weed out meritless fraud claims on the basis of the pleadings; thus, `the pleading should be sufficient “`to enable the court to determine whether, on the facts pleaded, there is any foundation, prima facie at least, for the charge of fraud.'”‘” See West v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 780, 793, (quoting Committee on Children’s Television, Inc. v. General Foods Corp. (1983) 35 Cal.3d 197, 216-217, superseded by statute on another ground as stated in Californians for Disability Rights v. Mervyn’s, LLC (2006) 39 Cal.4th 223, 227.)

A California Court of Appeal has stated in a published decision that if a defendant negates any essential element of a particular cause of action, a judge should sustain the demurrer as to that cause of action.

Another California Court of Appeal has stated in a published decision that in order to recover damages for fraud based on a false promise the plaintiff must show specific damages that resulted from the false promise, and show a causal connection between the false promise and the damages.

If you have been served with a complaint or cross-complaint that contains a cause of action for fraud by intentional misrepresentation you should contact an experienced civil litigation attorney that can carefully review it to determine for any defects, such as a lack of specific allegations such as dates, what was said, etc.

An experienced litigation attorney can evaluate your situation and determine whether filing a demurer to a cause of action for fraud is an appropriate response.  Contact attorney Nathan Mubasher for a free consultation and evaluation of your case.

Schedule a free consultation today with attorney Nathan Mubasher.

Call (800) 691-2721 and let’s talk about your options.

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR NATHAN MUBASHER:

Law Offices of Nathan Mubasher
2621 Green River Rd, Ste 105 PMB 403
Corona, CA 92882
tel 1-800-691-2721 | fax 1-310-356-3660
www.mubasherlaw.com

DISCLAIMER:

Thank you for reading. I hope I could have been educational as I endeavor to provide my knowledge as a free public service. Please note that all the materials and information on this blog are general analyses made available for the public’s general informational purposes only. These analyses are not in any way intended to serve as specific legal advice to be applied in your particular situation. Although I am an attorney, absent a signed retention and engagement letter, I am not your attorney. There are no exceptions to this rule. Moreover, you shall not rely on the information I am providing you, as it is only for your general knowledge and educational purposes, since this information would likely change based on any additional facts. Thus the transmission and receipt of information on this blog by anyone does not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. My knowledge of laws is limited to California. Anyone receiving any information on this blog should not act upon the information provided without first obtaining the services of professional legal counsel licensed in their respective jurisdiction. Best of luck.

 

 

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Author: nathanmubasher

Attorney Nathan Mubasher earned a post-doctorate LL.M. in International Financial Transactions with emphasis on Money Laundering and Compliance at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, a J.D. at American College of Law, and his B.A. at University of California, Riverside. He is a member of the State Bar of California and is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in California. He is also an active member of the American Health Lawyers Association and the California Society for Healthcare Attorneys. He has performed over 1,000 mediations and has Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) training from the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

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