July 30, 2006
Case Law Development: Fraudulent Inducement Tort as Part of Divorce Action
The Tennessee Court of Appeals upholds a trial court's damages judgment in a divorce action based on Wife's claim of fraudulent inducement. The trial court found that Husband had convinced Wife to loan him over $200,000 of her separate funds by telling her that he expected an inheritance from his great-grandfather's will (a man of substantial wealth), even though he knew that he was not expected to receive the millions of dollars he claimed were to be paid to him. The trial judge found Husband's denial of these representations incredible.
The court of appeals affirmed, noting that husband and wife are in a confidential relationship so that lesser evidence of undue influence is required than in arms-length transactions. The court also rejected Husband's argument that his grandfather's will was a matter of public record and that Wife should have investigated his claim.
Houghland v. Houghland, 2006 Tenn. App. LEXIS 496 (July 26, 2006)
Opinion on the web (last visited July 29, 2006 bgf)
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