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Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District
April 11, 2001, Opinion Filed
CASE NO. 3D00-662, CONSOLIDATED: 3D00-148, 3D00-670, 3D00-663, 3D00-664
[*1176] FLETCHER, Judge.
In these consolidated appeals, the purchasers of homes in Lennar Homes' Three Lakes Project challenge orders dismissing their claims of fraud in the inducement against a Lennar Homes salesperson. Finding error, we reverse.
Appellants sued appellee, among other defendants, alleging that they were fraudulently induced into signing agreements for the purchase of homes at Lennar Homes' Three Lakes Project by certain misrepresentations made by the defendants. In their complaints, appellants contend that appellee made three material misrepresentations during the course of several meetings prior to their execution of the purchase agreements and continuing through the closing. The first of the alleged [**2] misrepresentations concerned the prices of the homes. Appellants claim they were shown a price list and were told that the selling prices listed would never be reduced as Lennar Homes was committed to upholding the property values in the Three Lakes Project. The purchase prices listed on a subsequently issued list, however, showed the price of the homes had been reduced. The second alleged [*1177] misrepresentation involved certain railroad tracks which run across the development. According to appellants, prior to entering into their purchase agreements they were shown an artist's rendition of the final development which did not include the railroad tracks and were provided with an operating budget which did not provide for any expenses associated with the railroad crossing. More significantly, appellants contend they were falsely told by appellee that the railroad tracks, which were alleged to be under the control of the seller, were to be removed to provide for unrestricted access to the clubhouse and to eliminate any noise. Appellants further alleged that due to ongoing construction on the site they did not have access to the area in question to inspect it prior to closing on their homes. [**3] Finally, appellants claim they were falsely assured that the Three Lakes Project would be built and developed in accordance with the then existing zoning, but that Lennar has since requested a change of zoning and/or use variance to accommodate a higher density of residences. Appellants alleged that these representations were made with full knowledge of their falsity and with the intent of inducing them to rely upon them which they did to their detriment.
Appellee moved to dismiss the claims for fraud in the inducement on three grounds: (1) that appellee's statements were nothing more than puffing or salesmanship and not promises about a past or existing fact upon which appellants could justifiably rely; (2) that the representations preceded the execution of contracts which expressly warned appellants not to rely on oral representations and thus were merged into the contract's integration clause; and (3) that the claims were barred by the economic loss rule. The trial court dismissed the claims with prejudice upon its finding that the statements constituted nonactionable puffing or opinion without addressing the other two grounds. Final judgments in appellee's favor were subsequently [**4] entered after appellants abandoned their other claims against this appellee. 1
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
781 So. 2d 1175 *; 2001 Fla. App. LEXIS 4759 **; 26 Fla. L. Weekly D 975
JORGE R. MEJIA, et al., Appellants, vs. KATHERINE JURICH, Appellee.
Subsequent History: [**1] Released for Publication April 27, 2001.
Prior History: Appeals from the Circuit Court of Dade County, Celeste Hardee Muir, Judge. LOWER TRIBUNAL CASE NO. 97-17529.
Disposition: Reversed and remanded for reinstatement of plaintiffs' complaints.
representations, promises, railroad tracks, future action, complaints, inducement, grounds, puffing, prices, fraudulent misrepresentation, alleged misrepresentation, appellant's contention, recognized exception, statement of opinion, fraudulently induce, oral representation, economic loss rule, integration clause, purchase agreement, statement of facts, appellant's claim, justifiably rely, no intention, fraud claim, trial court, misrepresentations, salesmanship, performing, zoning
Torts, Business Torts, Fraud & Misrepresentation, General Overview, Business & Corporate Compliance, Contracts Law, Contract Conditions & Provisions, Integration Clauses, Real Property Law, Mortgages & Other Security Instruments, Satisfaction & Termination, Merger, Types of Contracts, Oral Agreements, Contracts Law, Affirmative Defenses, Compensatory Damages, Types of Losses, Economic Losses