Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Ingaharro v. Blanchette case brief

Ingaharro v. Blanchette case brief summary
440 A.2d 445 (1982)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant sellers sought review of an judgment entered in the trial court, Rockingham County (New Hampshire), which found for plaintiff buyer in his action against the sellers for negligent misrepresentation concerning the adequacy of the water supply serving his new home.

CASE FACTS
After buying a house from the sellers, the buyer brought an action against the sellers for negligent misrepresentation concerning the adequacy of the water supply. The parties had entered into a purchase-and-sale agreement, which contained a merger clause stating that all representations were expressed in the writing. The writing made no reference to the water supply.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The lower court concluded that the sellers' failure to inform the buyer of seasonal inadequacy in the water supply constituted negligent misrepresentation.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal the court reversed the judgment. 
  • The court held that there could be no finding of negligent misrepresentation by mere omission. 
  • The court found no evidence in the record to support the conclusion that the sellers had a duty to disclose the inadequacy of the water supply. 
  • Without such a duty, mere silence was not sufficient for misrepresentation.
RULES

  • The essential elements of negligent misrepresentation were a negligent misrepresentation by the seller of a material fact and justifiable reliance by the buyer. 
CONCLUSION
The court reversed the judgment entered in favor of the buyer and remanded the matter to the trial court for further consideration of whether the salesman's statement constituted a misrepresentation and whether the salesman was acting as the sellers' agent.

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