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Court Discusses Establishing Fraud Under New York Law

Technological advances generally make cars increasingly safer and easier to drive. When such technology fails, though, it can have disastrous consequences. When a vehicle’s anti-collision technology does not operate as the manufacturer indicated it should, it may provide a basis to pursue claims against the manufacturer. While some claims may be successful, it is unlikely that fraud is one of them, as illustrated in a recent New York opinion. If you were hurt in a collision caused by a defect with your vehicle, you should confer with a Syracuse car accident lawyer to establish what damages you may be owed.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff was driving a vehicle manufactured by the defendant when he was involved in a collision. He suffered significant injuries and filed a lawsuit against the defendant asserting multiple causes of action, including fraud. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant, via a dealer in a showroom and through its website, advised the plaintiff that the vehicle’s autopilot feature would allow him to take a hands-off approach to driving.

Reportedly, he was advised that it possessed automatic steering and braking capabilities and could detect cars in adjacent lanes. The autopilot feature failed to activate when a car cut the plaintiff’s vehicle off, however, and he swerved into another lane and struck a vehicle the autopilot feature failed to detect. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s fraud claims, arguing the plaintiff failed to set forth a viable claim. The court ultimately agreed and dismissed the plaintiff’s fraud claim.

Establishing Fraud Under New York Law

In New York, a plaintiff alleging fraud must show that the defendant made a misrepresentation that it knew was false or omitted a material fact for the express purpose of inducing the plaintiff to rely on it. Further, the plaintiff has to prove it justifiably relied on the misrepresentation and suffered harm as a result of that reliance.

The pleading standards for fraud claims require the plaintiff to state with particularity the circumstances that constitute fraud. To satisfy this requirement, the plaintiff must set forth the allegedly fraudulent statements, name the speaker, identify when and there the statements were made, and state why they were fraudulent. In the subject case, the court agreed with the defendant’s assertion that the plaintiff failed to make out a valid claim of fraud or meet the pleading standard requiring particularity. As such, the court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss as to the fraud claim.

Speak to a Dedicated Syracuse Lawyer

Motorists anticipate that their vehicles will work properly, but hidden defects in cars often lead to catastrophic collisions. If you suffered harm due to a car accident, you may be able to pursue claims against multiple parties, and you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. The dedicated attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the circumstances surrounding your accident and help you to seek compensation from any party that contributed to your harm. You can reach us via our online form or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a conference.







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