Tuzinkiewicz v. Steckel
Allegations that sellers knowingly made a misrepresentation, when they indicated that they lacked any knowledge about zoning violations, and that the buyer would not have purchased, if he had known about zoning violations, can be sufficient to state a cause of action for fraud. The plaintiff buyer alleged the following facts, which have not been proven. The defendant sellers allegedly signed a sales contract that indicated they did not know about any zoning violations. The plaintiff allegedly relied on the contract when he paid $1.65 million for the subject property. The plaintiff eventually discovered the sellers had received notification from a zoning board that an apartment on the property had not received approval. Allegedly, the plaintiff had intended to lease the apartment to a third party, and he sued the sellers, alleging fraud. To prevail, a plaintiff must prove: 1.) a false representation was made as a statement of fact; 2.) it was untrue and known to be untrue; 3.) it was made to induce the other party to act; and 4.) the other party acted upon the false representation and was injured. Allegations that the sellers knowingly made a misrepresentation of fact, and that the buyer relied on the representation and would not have purchased, if he had known, were sufficient to allege a cause of action for fraud. The court denied the motion to strike the fraud count. The sellers also moved to strike the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act count. The plaintiff's complaint alleged the defendants were in the business of buying and selling real property for a profit, and that they knowingly engaged in immoral or deceptive conduct that damaged the plaintiff, who would not have purchased, if he had known. The plaintiff's complaint adequately alleged a CUTPA violation, and the court denied the motion to strike. The plaintiff failed to adequately allege the defendant broker knew that the apartment lacked approval from the zoning board, or that she engaged in a knowing misrepresentation, when she informed the plaintiff's broker that the sellers were relocating. The court granted the broker's motion to strike the CUTPA count.