Payton & Associates, LLC
Commercial Litigation Attorneys
Miami, Florida

What is required to allege and prove a fraud claim?

When Florida residents are alleged to have done something wrong, the allegations alone can be a very serious matter. This is particularly true for Florida businesses, which thrive on having a solid reputation and good will with their customers. And it is even more true when certain allegations are made, such as accusations of fraud.

As discussed recently in this blog, there are significant damages that can be awarded when fraud is proved to have occurred in a corporate dispute. In some cases, there might even be additional damages available, such as punitive damages, if a party is found to have engaged in fraudulent conduct.

Because of the seriousness of fraud allegations, however, claims involving fraud may be treated differently from other types of legal claims. For instance, even when filing a complaint against another party, there are stricter requirements that govern allegations of fraud that do not necessarily apply to other claims.

Under Florida's Rules of Civil Procedure, circumstances of fraud have to be stated with sufficient detail in the complaint. This stricter requirement, known as a heightened standard of pleading, does not apply to most other kinds of claims. The idea behind the requirement is to place a higher burden on alleging fraud claims due to the nature of the claim.

There might also be stricter requirements in a party's burden of proof in the business litigation. Similar to having to allege more in a complaint, the party may have to prove the claim with more certainty than might be required for another type of claim. Accordingly, while fraud claims can play an important part of business litigation, these claims might also involve different requirements that must be satisfied in order to be successful.

Source: Florida Bar, "Florida Rules of Civil Procedure," accessed on Nov. 5, 2016

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