From : Paralegal
Date: [Today’s date]
Re: Julie Larson; Real Estate Fraud; File No. 04-567
Does Larson have a claim for fraud against the Randalls when she purchased a house from the
Randalls unaware that there was a graveyard in the backyard, the Randalls deny that they knew
about the graveyard, and the graveyard decreases the value of the house?
No, Larson probably does not have a claim for fraud against the Randalls. A fraud claim
requires a false representation or concealment of a material fact. A defendant must know a
representation is false, or that a material fact is being concealed, and have intent to deceive.
Also, it must be shown that a buyer reasonably relied upon the representation or concealment and suffered damages.
Here, while Larson may have reasonably relied on the Randalls’ representations and suffered damages, it does not appear that the Randalls made any ...view middle of the document...
Larson wants to know whether she can recover for fraud against the Randalls.
Prior to buying the house, Larson visited the property but saw no indication of the graveyard.
The house has a long, narrow backyard that extends approximately fifty yards behind the house. When she visited the property, the first twenty feet of yard had a small patio, a grassy area, several well-tended flowerbeds, and some ornamental trees. The remainder of the yard was wooded and overgrown. Although Larson walked briefly around the patio and tended areas, she never explored beyond them to the overgrown areas where the gravestones were located.
During her visit to the house, Larson spoke with the Randalls. Although she asked specific
questions about the house, she did not ask about the backyard. The Randalls mentioned it was
tranquil in the garden in the backyard. In a follow-up fax to Larson encouraging her to make an offer, the Randalls wrote that if she bought the house she could relax out back with a tall iced tea.
After moving in, Larson noticed what she later found out were gravestones in an overgrown area of her backyard when she was pulling weeds and cutting trees. She did not realize that the stones might be graves until a contractor, hired to make a price estimate for a deck, discovered the stones and suggested that they might be a graveyard.
Larson then had friends over to help clear out more weeds from the yard. They found fifteen
stones. Most of the stones were lying down, but one stood up as tall as the grass. Larson then
called a state office and requested a state inspector come out to the house. The inspector found two more stones, and confirmed that they were indeed graves.
After conducting more research, Larson learned that her neighbors were aware of other
graveyards in the area and that a local newspaper had written an article about other local
graveyards. Larson contacted the Randalls. They denied knowing anything about the graveyard. They refused to pay for its removal or to compensate Larson for the decrease in value of the home. Thus, Larson is wondering if she may have a legal basis for collecting damages.