Fraud is a diverse tort in Alabama. At Ferguson, Frost, Moore & Young, we have experience with each variety. Fraud can be committed purposefully or innocently: the intent of the party is not an element in a fraud claim unless one is seeking punitive damages. The traditional elements of fraud require the inured party to prove a misrepresentation of an existing material fact, yet a fraud claim can also arise when a party concealed a material fact which the party had a duty to disclose. Alabama recognizes common law causes of action for fraud and suppression, as well as statutory remedies for deceit, fraud, suppression, and misrepresentation.
Under Alabama law, the claimant must prove he or she was reasonable in relying on the allegedly fraudulent statement. If the circumstances are such that a reasonably prudent person would have discovered the true facts in the exercise of ordinary care, then one may not recover for fraud. The trial court can determine reasonable reliance as a matter of law. Absent unusual circumstances, statements of opinion cannot support a claim of fraud. Moreover, if the subject of the alleged fraud concerns a promise to act (or not to act) in the future, the claim actually sounds in promissory fraud which is a distinct tort with unique elemental prerequisites of its own. Please contact the lawyers in our Fraud Practice Group for more information about the litigation and consulting services we provide in this important area of Alabama law.