Mellon v. International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery

U.S. District Court, D. Wyoming, No. 1:13-CV-00118-SWS, July 25, 2014: No negligent misrepresentation in Amelia Earhart search fundraising.

This decision is of some relevance as a discussion of the claim of Mellon, the plaintiff/donor, that The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (“TIGHAR”), the defendant, engaged in negligent misrepresentation in fundraising. The court found that TIGHAR did not. The elements of negligent misrepresentation in Wyoming, the applicable law in this case, are set out below. It is reported here for that reason, but also because the court’s opinion includes interesting summer reading on TIGHAR’s search for the Earhart aircraft.

The court cited Wyo. Sugar Growers, LCC v. Spreckels Sugar Co., Inc., 925 F.Supp.2d 1225, 1228 n.2 (D. Wyo. 2012) (in turn citing Birt v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg., Inc., 75 P.3d 640, 656 (Wyo. 2003)) for following as the elements of negligent misrepresentation under Wyoming law: “(1) defendant gave plaintiff false information in a transaction in which defendant had a pecuniary interest; (2) defendant gave the false information to plaintiff for the guidance of plaintiff in plaintiffs business transactions; (3) defendant failed to use reasonable care in obtaining or communicating the information; (4) plaintiff justifiably relied on the false information supplied by defendant; and (5) as a result of plaintiff’s reliance, plaintiff suffered economic damages.” The court found that the information Mellon claimed was a misrepresentation was not false.

Decision available at http://www.wyd.uscourts.gov/pdfforms/orders/13_118_Order.pdf.

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