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Aircraft Dealer’s Compliment Concerning A Distressed Manufacturer Does Not Constitute Fraud

Though buyers sometimes seek to undo purchase agreements by claiming they were misled by a crafty salesperson, a recent federal case illustrates the limits of this tactic.  In Morris Aviation, LLC v. Diamond Aircraft Industries, Inc., the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of an aircraft buyer’s claim of fraudulent misrepresentation.  The claim had arisen when the dealer’s sales representative endorsed the aircraft’s engine manufacturer as a “reliable and quality company” when the buyer had expressed doubts about the newly developed diesel engine installed on the aircraft.

On these facts, the Sixth Circuit found that the salesman’s comment was merely a statement of opinion and “puffery” on which no buyer would reasonably rely.  The court ruled that the statement did not furnish a basis to claim fraud when the manufacturer later declared bankruptcy and voided its warranties.