Here at Construction Law Musings, we’ve discussed the fact that, in Virginia, the “economic loss rule” generally renders claims of fraud and construction contracts like oil and water. This is true in most states, including Florida.
What this means is that as a general rule where any party is supposed to perform under a contract, and fails to do so, the Virginia courts will dismiss a fraud claim out of a desire to avoid turning any breach of contract (read “broken promise”) case into a claim for fraud. As you have likely gathered by the title of this post, there are exceptions. One is a properly plead Virginia Consumer Protection Act (“VCPA”) claim.
Another, found in a recent Loudoun County, VA Circuit Court opinion in Madison v. Milton Home Systems Inc., is so called fraud in the inducement (in other words, inducing a person to enter the contract under false pretenses). In Madison the Court analyzed several counts based upon a modular home contract and so called “performance agreement” guarantying that the home would be installed by the manufacturer in the event that it’s installer failed to perform.