The prior customers who purchased cars from him under the claims that they were non-auction autos could have a claim for fraud if they chose to pursue it.
The term 'fraud' is generally defined in the law as an intentional misrepresentation of material existing fact made by one person to another with knowledge of its falsity and for the purpose of inducing the other person to act, and upon which the other person relies with resulting injury or damage. [Fraud may also include an omission or intentional failure to state material facts, knowledge of which would be necessary to make other statements not misleading.]
To constitute fraud the misrepresentation [or omission] must be made knowingly and intentionally, not as a result of mistake or accident; that is, that the person either knew or should have known of the falsity of the misrepresentation [or the false effect of the omission], or that he made the misrepresentation [or omission] in negligent disregard of its truth or falsity.Finally to constitute fraud, the Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant intended for the Plaintiff to rely upon the misrepresentation [and/or omission]; that the Plaintiff did in fact rely upon the misrepresentation [and/or omission]; and that the Plaintiff suffered injury or damage as a result of the fraud.
Fraud avoids a contract, ab initio, both at law and in equity, whether the object be to deceive the public, third persons or one party endeavor thereby to cheat the other.
The hardest thing to prove in this case would be damages as the plaintiff would have to prove that they suffered some sort of economic damage that they would not have suffered had the car not been from an auction.
If you could show evidence that he was in fact selling autos from the auction and not disclosing it, you could file a complaint with the state Attorney General's Office and they would follow up on it as a possible criminal matter.
I hope this helps and thanks for the question.
My ultimate goal is your satisfaction. I hope you have a better understanding of your legal issue as a result of my comments. I am sorry if the answer is not what you would prefer, but as you know, sometimes the correct answer is good news, other times bad. If the information given in fact answered your question please click the GREEN "ACCEPT" button NOW, so that I receive credit for my work. If you need additional clarification on this question afterward clicking ACCEPT, don't hesitate to click "Reply" and I will be happy to help you. Please give me as much detail as you can so that I can respond after receiving all the relevant details. If you would like to have me help with further questions, you can request me personally in your question caption. Thank you for your consideration.
The information given here is not legal advice. As all states have different intricacies in their laws, the information given is general only. I am neither establishing nor accepting an attorney-client relationship with you.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).