Civil Fraud Litigation – Legal Services
Fraud is a common claim made in relation to business and real estate sales transactions. After a business or real estate project is purchased, the buyer may not do as well as expected with the business or project after the transaction. The purchaser may claim that he or she was fraudulently prompted to perform the transaction(s) and that certain representations and warranties were false. The purchaser may claim that he or she relied on those false representations to their injury and may sue for fraud and/or breach of representations and warranties in the alternative. The seller may present facts showing the failure of the purchaser to manage the business or project properly and that the economy is to blame for any perceived losses. In addition, a series of legal defenses and denials of the elements of fraud may be presented.
Generally, the courts will look at the diligence of the parties; the representations made, the dependence of the parties on the representations, the causation from those representations to any damages, the due diligence of the parties to check out the representations based on the circumstances and the damages sustained.
Hecht Walker, P.C. has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in large fraud cases. In one case, Hecht Walker, P.C. defended a shopping center owner who was sued on a multi-million dollar fraud case by the purchaser. The purchaser claimed misrepresentations in the rent roll and income production documents. The purchaser requested rescission of the entire purchase and sued for damages based on fraud and misrepresentations in the alternative. Hecht Walker, P.C. was able to show how proper construction of the documents and proper management of the property would have resulted in secure income for the purchaser. As a result, Hecht Walker, P.C. helped this client find justice as we achieved a defense verdict on all counts at a jury trial in Superior Court.
In another case, Hecht Walker, P.C. sued a multi-level marketing company and 17 other affiliated companies and 3 individuals for millions of dollars related to fraudulent activities. After a year of litigating with a New York national law firm, Hecht Walker, P.C. was able to secure a large judgment and a significant settlement payment against the main defendants. Hecht Walker, P.C. was able to gain a temporary restraining order and later an interlocutory injunction against the companies and individuals during the entirety of the litigation to prevent them from moving significant assets during the litigation.
We look forward to putting our years of experience to work for you. Whether the matter involves the sale of a business, real estate, business services, the sale of goods, advertising or other commercial matters, oral and written representations made by parties may form the basis of fraud claims. Several elements are required for fraud, and courts and juries in Georgia weigh in on these elements in cases every year.
Located in Atlanta and Eagle’s Landing, our fraud litigation attorneys represent clients throughout Georgia. As experienced litigators, we attempt to dispute resolution in fraud cases in order to prevent a lengthy courtroom battle. When that’s not possible, we prepare for the eventual litigation through the Georgia courts and aggressively pursue our clients’ rights at trial.
How does Georgia define fraud?
In Georgia actual fraud involves five elements generally as follows:
- A false representation made by the defendant;
- Knowledge that the representation is false or with reckless disregard as to whether it was true;
- An intent to induce a party to act or refrain from acting based on the knowingly false representation;
- Reasonable reliance by that party on the knowingly false representation; and
- Damage as a result of the victim reasonably relying on the false representations made by the defendant.
Certain fraud claims may have some nuances to the above elements, but these are the general elements of a fraud claim in the state of Georgia. Certain claims may be compatible with multiple fraudulent acts such as RICO claims, and that can allow for a tripling of certain damages. We do have experience representing these cases, although they generally require extensive litigation and strategic decisions that will need to be made as to whether such claims should be asserted or not based on the facts and goals of the client.
What is a merger clause?
In written contracts, parties should look to the existence or not of a merger clause. A merger clause is a provision which states that all prior oral and written representations are merged into the contract, and that the writing contains the full agreement between the parties and that the prior representations are not a part of any agreement. This provision is often critical to the decision of the court, but it is possible for this provision to be nullified depending on the circumstance. However, the merger clause is a powerful tool in the arsenal of those defending against fraud claims.
Do you handle criminal fraud cases?
We limit our commercial business law firm to civil fraud litigation.Our strong record of civil litigation success is indicative of the quality of representation we provide each of our commercial clients. If you are facing criminal fraud charges or want to assert criminal fraud charges, we can refer you to those attorneys while we handle the civil claims related to the same actions.
It’s important to note that the Georgia statutes surrounding fraudulent activity may change. What was applicable last year may no longer be an option. Most recently, in July 2015, Georgia Legislature amended the Georgia Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act. Now referred to as the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act, it brought with it many changes to the law.Not knowing what those changes are can create problems.
The civil litigation attorneys at Hecht Walker, P.C. will continue to advocate on behalf of our clients in all of their commercial and business needs. Our experience sustains our reputation, and we stand ready to discuss your organization’s needs today and for years into the future. We work as a team with you to achieve your goals. We look forward to being a part of your team.
This information was posted on 08-23-2016 and does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The law changes on a daily basis, and the reader should engage an attorney through a written agreement before taking action in this area of the law.