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Responding to a Fraud Lawsuit

Fraud lawsuits are increasingly common as plaintiffs and plaintiffs’ attorneys try to create personal liability and seek punitive damages from defendants in San Francisco Superior Court and San Jose. However, plaintiffs in fraud lawsuits are subject to a stricter pleading standard because the claims involve a serious attack on the defendant’s character. This particularity requirement necessitates that the plaintiff plead facts showing “how, when, where, to whom, and by what means the [fraudulent] representations [or omissions] were tendered.” Lazar v. Sup. Ct. (Rykoff-Sexton, Inc.) (1996) 12 Cal.4th 631, 645.

Defendants, in considering how to respond to a lawsuit for fraud, may consider filing a demurrer instead of an answer. A demurrer is a motion that tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. If the court finds that the plaintiff has not met the stricter pleading standard applicable to fraud claims, then the court may sustain the demurrer and even award costs to defendants.

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