How to Prove a Negligent Misrepresentation Claim Under New York Law
Before addressing how you prove a negligent misrepresentation claim, we first have to define what it is - and what it isn't. Unlike its cousin, the fraud claim, negligent misrepresentation does not require a showing of malicious intent or recklessness by the defendant; rather, it requires that the plaintiff prove the following by a preponderance of the evidence: (1) awareness by the defendant that his statement was to be used for a particular purpose or purposes; (2) reliance by a known party or parties in furtherance of that purpose; (3) some conduct by the defendants linking them to the plaintiffs and evincing defendants' awareness of their reliance; (4) that defendant's statements or conduct exaggerated or misstated certain facts; (5) that these misstatements resulted from the defendant's negligence and/or lack of due diligence; (6) that plaintiff relied on defendant's misstatements; and, (7) as a result, plaintiff suffered damages. An important caveat bears mention, though. As a New York Federal Court recently held in Five Star Development Resort Communities v. iStar RC Paradise Valley, "Under New York law, in order to state a claim for negligent misrepresentation, a plaintiff is required to allege that the speaker is bound to the other party 'by some relation or duty of care'" outside a contract that may be between the parties. Therefore, the Court continued, "In ordinary commercial contexts it is imposed only on those persons who possess unique or specialized expertise, or who are in a special position of confidence and trust with the injured party such that reliance on the negligent misrepresentation is justified." In other words, "[i]f the only interest at stake is that of holding the defendant to a promise, the courts have said that the plaintiff may not transmogrify the contract claim into one for tort." JP Morgan Chase Bank, 350 F. Supp. 2d at 401 (quoting Hargrave v. Oki Nursery, Inc., 636 F.2d 897, 899 (2d Cir. 1980)).
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