Brief Fact Summary. The Defendant, Rockville Motor Co., Inc. (Defendant), sold the Plaintiff, Hinkle (Plaintiff) a car, claiming it was “new”. In fact, it had about 2000 miles on it and had been in an accident, where the body was severed. The Plaintiff sued the Defendant for the costs the Plaintiff would incur to fix the car.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. In a case of fraud or deceit, plaintiff need not show the actual value of the misrepresented item at the time of purchase to make a case. It is enough that plaintiff show there was deceit and that plaintiff incurred damages as a result of the deceit.
Issue. Was the trial court correct in granting the directed verdict in favor of the Defendant?
* A review of Maryland case law shows a variety of ways a plaintiff in a case of deceit may establish what his damages are: “(1) If the defrauded party is content with the recovery of only the amount that he actually lost, his damages will be measured under that rule; (2)if the fraudulent representation also amounted to a warranty, recovery may be had for loss of the bargain because a fraud accompanied by a broken promise should cost the wrongdoer as much as the latter alone; (3) where the circumstances disclosed by the proof are so vague as to cast virtually no light upon the value of the property had it conformed to the representations, the court will award damages equal only to the loss sustained.; and (4) where the damages under the benefit-of-the-bargain rule are proved with sufficient certainty, that rule will be employed.””
* In this case, the Plaintiff made a prima fascia case for deceit and showed that he sustained damages in having to repair his car.
In Webster v. Woolford which was an action of deceit, alleged to have been practised by the defendant in respect to his authority to sell certain property, this Court said: the action, it is true, is in the nature of an action for tort, but it is a tort found on a breach of contract, and there being no question as to exemplary damages, the rule as to the measure of damages is the same as in cases for breach of contract in regard to the sale of property.View Full Point of Law