South Carolina Negligent Misrepresentation Attorney
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What is negligent misrepresentation?
To prove a claim for the common law tort of negligent misrepresentation in South Carolina, a plaintiff is required to establish by a preponderance of the evidence the following elements: (1) the defendant made a false representation to the plaintiff; (2) the defendant had a pecuniary interest in making the statement; (3) the defendant owed a duty of care to see that he communicated truthful information to the plaintiff; (4) the defendant breached that duty by failing to exercise due care; (5) the plaintiff justifiably relied on the representation; and (6) the plaintiff suffered a pecuniary loss as the proximate result of his reliance on the representation. West v. Gladney, 341 S.C. 127, 133–34 (Ct. App. 2000). “‘Evidence of a mere broken promise is not sufficient to prove negligent misrepresentation.’” Turner v. Milliman, 392 S.C. 116, 123 (2011) (quoting Sauner v. Pub. Serv. Auth. of S.C., 354 S.C. 397, 407 (2003)).
The Supreme Court, in Gilliland v. Elmwood Props., 301 S.C. 295 (1990), discussed the tort of negligent misrepresentation:
In South Carolina, one may bring an action sounding in tort for negligent misrepresentation. “A duty to exercise reasonable care in giving information exists when the defendant has a pecuniary interest in the transaction.” Winburn v. Insurance Co., 287 S.C. 435, 441 (Ct. App. 1985). “The recovery of damages may be predicated upon a negligently made false statement where a party suffers either injury or loss as a consequence of relying upon the misrepresentation.” Id. These general rules have been applied, in every case this Court has located, to support the recognition of a negligent misrepresentation claim where the misrepresented fact(s) induced the plaintiff to enter a contract or business transaction. See, e.g., Winburn, supra (recognizing that under appropriate facts, negligent representations inducing the signing of an endorsement could be actionable); Pittman v. Galloway, 281 S.C. 70 (Ct. App. 1984) (negligent representation inducing the plaintiff’s purchase of land is actionable); and First Federal Sav. Bank v. Knauss, 296 S.C. 136, 370 S.E.2d 906 (Ct.App.1988) (recognizing that under appropriate facts, negligent representations inducing property purchase could be actionable).