Summary Judgment Obtained on Claims of Fraud, Negligent Misrepresentation and Violation of Consumer Protection Laws

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Attorney Daniel D. Stofko, Esquire recently obtained summary judgment in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in a case filed by a homebuyer alleging fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and violation of consumer protection laws against multiple parties in the context of a land purchase and home construction agreement.  Our client, a residential real estate appraiser, was alleged to have produced a fraudulent appraisal report that overvalued the property and did not address the presence of an existing utility easement.  Shortly after the plaintiffs purchased the property and began construction, it was learned that Pennsylvania Power & Light planned a large expansion of the existing utility lines in the area, which would severely encumber their property.


Discovery revealed that the plaintiffs did not in fact read the appraisal prior to closing on the property.  Attorney Stofko built a case through further discovery and moved for summary judgment on the basis that plaintiffs could not establish justifiable reliance, as required under each claim.  Despite a prior Middle District opinion relied upon by the plaintiff to counter our client’s position, Attorney Stofko was able to distinguish the prior ruling and successfully argue that the claims for fraud, negligent misrepresentation and violation of the consumer protection laws should be dismissed.  As a result, judgment was entered in our client’s favor at an early stage of the litigation which avoided the necessity of our client’s deposition and the additional time and expense of litigation.

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