Tort of Deceit
- A false statement is made.
- The person making the statement knew that it was false.
- The intention is that another person acts on the false statement.
- Damages are suffered as a result of acting on the false statement.
One of the classic examples of deceit is a street hustle called three-card monte, in which a person moves three cards around and the player has to pick out a certain card. Typically, the person moving the cards uses sleight of hand and deceives the player into picking the wrong card. If this person is sued for the tort of deceit, they could argue as a defense that this is a game of skill and not a trick.
From a practical perspective, someone who is suing for the tort of deceit or for other intentional torts should probably also include a claim for negligence. Negligence is almost always easier to prove, since a plaintiff does not need to prove any intentional act or any specific state of mind. Rather, the plaintiff just needs to prove that a duty was owed and was breached by the defendant not acting in a reasonable manner and that those actions have resulted in damages.