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A cause of action for intentional fraudulent misrepresentation as to present or past facts exists in Louisiana. In the case of a contract confected under circumstances involving such fraud, a plaintiff may elect to pursue an action for damages for fraud rather than breach of contract.
In an application for a loan, defendant minor Mark Johnston fraudulently misrepresented to plaintiff Bunkie Bank & Trust Company that he was of full age, had a lease for a soybean crop, and that he needed additional sums for operating expenses. Plaintiff filed an action against defendant minor and the minor’s mother. Defendants filed Exceptions of No Cause of Action and No Right of Action. The trial judge sustained the Exception of No Cause of Action, holding plaintiff's damages did not arise from a tort but instead from a breach of contract, for which neither the minor nor his parent could be held liable. Plaintiff appealed.
Under the facts alleged, did the plaintiff Bank have a cause of action in tort against the minor and/or his mother?
The court reversed the decision of the trial court, holding that while a minor could not be liable for a disaffirmed contract, nothing in the state jurisprudence relieved a minor from liability for the intentional tort of fraudulent misrepresentation as to present or past facts. The court found that the bank stated a cause of action against the son in tort under La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 2315 and a cause of action against the mother under La. Civ. Code Ann. arts. 2317 and 2318. The court pretermitted the question of whether the misrepresentation of his age constituted actionable fraud, but found that his statement that he had a lease and his statements that he needed money for operating expenses constituted actionable fraud.