August 20, 2019

COURT OF APPEALS CONSIDERS FRAUD CLAIM

In a case involving a request for Prince to perform at a trade show, the absence of specific supporting facts was fatal to a fraud claim.  Recently, the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, considered a case asserting a fraud claim stemming from a request for Prince to perform at a trade show.  The plaintiff worked for a business that booked entertainment for trade shows.  The plaintiff allegedly heard that the defendant could help the plaintiff book Prince for a trade show.  The plaintiff met with the defendant.  The plaintiff allegedly wired $75,000.00 to the defendant after the defendant signed an agreement stating, among other things, that he “is willing and able to facilitate Prince’s performance” at the trade show.  The defendant allegedly emailed one of Prince’s representatives.  The representative responded that Prince was considering the offer.  When weeks passed without a commitment from Prince to attend the trade show, the plaintiff eventually cancelled the Prince plan and asked the defendant to return the $75,000.00.  The defendant refused.  The plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging that the defendant committed “fraud by stating in the agreement that he was ‘willing and able to facilitate Prince’s performance at’ the trade show.”  The trial court granted summary judgment as to the fraud claim.  The plaintiff appealed.  The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the granting of summary judgment. The Eleventh Circuit found that the plaintiff did not carry her burden of setting forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine dispute about whether the defendant’s statement that he was willing and able to facilitate Prince’s performance at the trade show was false.  The Eleventh Circuit found that an affidavit asserting that "Prince would never consider working with [defendant]" because their professional relationship "bitterly ended" did not set forth specific facts to support that assertion.  The Eleventh Circuit also found that emails undermined the plaintiffs’ fraud claim because that the defendant “promptly emailed the details of the planned performance to one of Prince’s representatives suggests that he was willing to get the gig going from the get-go” “[a]nd the follow-up communications between [defendant] and Prince’s representatives undermine [plaintiff’s] claim that [defendant] did not have the ability to do so.”

For more information about the topic of this blog post, please contact Stark Weber PLLC’s Steven D. Weber at 305-377-8788 or steve@starkweber.com.

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