The Different Requirements for Pleading Consumer Fraud as Opposed to Common Law Fraud

In Illinois, the pleading requirements for consumer fraud and common law fraud differ in several key aspects:

  1. Common Law Fraud: To establish a case for common law fraud, you must demonstrate five elements:
    • A false statement of material fact made by the defendant to the plaintiff.
    • The defendant knew the statement was false.
    • The statement was made with the intent that the plaintiff would rely on it.
    • The plaintiff did rely on the statement.
    • The plaintiff suffered damage due to this reliance.
  2. Consumer Fraud: Under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, the requirements are slightly different and only four elements are needed:
    • A deceptive act or unfair practice (involving a public policy violation) by the defendant.
    • The defendant intended for the plaintiff to rely on the deception.
    • The deception or unfair practice occurred in the course of trade or commerce.
    • The plaintiff suffered actual damage as a result of the defendant’s violation of the act.

The cases “Ash v. PSP Distribution, LLC”, “Werderman v. Liberty Ventures, LLC”, “Brody v. Finch University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School”, “Medline v. Covidien”, “Vulcan Golf, LLC v. Google Inc.”, “BookXchange FL, LLC v. Book Runners, LLC”, and “Windy City Metal Fabricators & Supply, Inc. v. CIT Technology Financing Services, Inc.” highlight the differing pleading requirements for consumer fraud versus common law fraud. Under common law fraud, plaintiffs must plead actual reliance. However, under the Consumer Fraud Act, actual reliance is not necessary [3], [7].

To establish a violation of the Consumer Fraud Act, plaintiffs must show that the defendant committed a deceptive act, intended to induce reliance on the deception, and that the deception occurred in a course of conduct involving trade or commerce. Claims under the Consumer Fraud Act, like those under common law fraud, are generally subject to the heightened pleading requirements of Rule 9(b), unless a plaintiff is alleging violations of the Consumer Fraud Act, but not alleging fraud.

The “Miller v. William Chevrolet/GEO, Inc.” case emphasizes that damages are a necessary element of the prima facie case for both plaintiff’s common law and statutory consumer fraud claims [11].

Furthermore, the case “Duran v. Leslie Oldsmobile, Inc.” suggests that the Consumer Fraud Act has eliminated many elements of common-law fraud and provides broader consumer protection, though the exact elements of a statutory fraud cause of action remain unspecified. The case “Davis v. G.N. Mortg. Corp.” and the case “DOD Technologies v. Mesirow Ins. Services, Inc.” reaffirm that complaints made pursuant to the Consumer Fraud Act’s deception prong (but not its unfairness prong) must be pleaded with the same specificity as that required under common-law fraud but do not require the plaintiff to show actual reliance or diligence in ascertaining the accuracy of misstatements.
In summary, both common law fraud and consumer fraud involve a deceptive act intended to induce reliance. However, common law fraud requires the additional element of actual reliance, while consumer fraud does not. Both types of claims are typically subject to the heightened pleading requirements of Rule 9(b), unless the claim is alleging violations of the Consumer Fraud Act, but not alleging fraud. Damages are a necessary element for both types of claims.

Consumer fraud is considered easier to prove than common law fraud. This is because, in consumer fraud cases, there’s no need to prove that the defendant made a knowingly false statement of material fact. Additionally, the plaintiff does not need to show reliance on the defendant’s false statement. Lastly, consumer fraud requires proof by a preponderance of the evidence, which is a lower standard than the clear and convincing evidence required for common law fraud.

Why Use Lubin Austermuehle to Defend or Prosecute a Fraud or Consumer Fraud Matter

Choosing Lubin Austermuehle for handling your consumer fraud or common law fraud case is beneficial due to their extensive experience and proven track record in these types of legal matters. They are skilled in navigating the complexities of both consumer fraud under the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act and common law fraud cases and have excellent client reviews. Their legal team is equipped to handle the nuanced differences in proving each type of fraud and can offer personalized legal strategies tailored to the specifics of your case. Their commitment to client success and detailed understanding of the legal requirements in these fraud cases make them a strong choice for representation.

For a free consultation call us at 630-333-0333 or contact us online.

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