Statement of the Case
Plaintiff Ceil Tarmann appeals from a judgment entered after the trial court sustained without leave to amend defendant State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company's (State Farm) demurrer to Tarmann's fifth amended complaint. She claims her complaint sufficiently pled causes of action for fraud and negligent misrepresentation. We disagree and affirm the judgment.
Standard of Review
Facts Alleged in the Fifth Amended Complaint
On September 22, 1985, Tarmann was involved in an auto accident with Andy Roselada, a State Farm insured. Roselada's liability was reasonably clear. Tarmann obtained an estimate of $3,200 to repair her vehicle, and State Farm authorized the estimate.
In particular, State Farm represented to her that she was authorized to have her vehicle repaired at Capitol Ford, Inc., of Almaden, that their obligation to indemnify her for her damages was reasonably clear, and that it "would pay Plaintiff for all such repairs ... immediately upon completion of those repairs." These representations were made by persons whose names were "unknown to Plaintiff but [who] were adjustors and/or claims supervisors/managers" employed by State Farm and acting as its agents. The
State Farm's representations were intended to induce Tarmann's reliance so that she would bring her vehicle in for repairs and delay filing an action for damages. Tarmann relied on the representations and brought her vehicle to be repaired. However, State Farm refused to pay for the repairs or indemnify her. Because Tarmann lacked the funds to complete the repairs or obtain the release of her vehicle, she was left without its use for an extended period of time.
Tarmann hired an attorney, who filed an action against Roselada. In September 1986, State Farm settled her claim for $3,476.47. She then initiated this action.
The Cause of Action for Fraud
The requirement of specificity in a fraud action against a corporation requires the plaintiff to allege the names of the persons who made the allegedly fraudulent representations, their authority to speak, to whom they spoke, what they said or wrote, and when it was said or written. (Archuleta v. Grand Lodge etc. of Machinists (1968) 262 Cal.App.2d 202, 208-209 [68 Cal.Rptr. 694]; Gautier v. General Telephone Co. (1965) 234 Cal.App.2d 302, 308 [44 Cal.Rptr. 404]; Mason v. Drug, Inc. (1939) 31 Cal.App.2d 697, 703 [88 P.2d 929]; Sanders v. Ford Motor Co. (1979) 96 Cal.App.3d Supp. 43, 46 [158 Cal.Rptr. 656]; see Grossman & Van Alstyne, California Practice (2d ed. 1976) § 984, pp. 111-114.)
Here, Tarmann generally alleged that the persons were "authorized agents of State Farm ... cloaked with such authority" and were "adjustors and/or
We acknowledge that the requirement of specificity is relaxed when the allegations indicate that "the defendant must necessarily possess full information concerning the facts of the controversy" (Bradley v. Hartford Acc. & Indem. Co. (1973) 30 Cal.App.3d 818, 825 [106 Cal.Rptr. 718], disapproved on another ground in Silberg v. Anderson (1990) 50 Cal.3d 205, 212-213 [266 Cal.Rptr. 638, 786 P.2d 365]) or "when the facts lie more in the knowledge of the opposite party[.]" (Turner v. Milstein (1951) 103 Cal.App.2d 651, 658 [230 P.2d 25].) However, we consider this exception inapplicable here, for State Farm has no more reason to know who made the allegedly false representations to Tarmann than Tarmann.
Under the circumstances, the court properly sustained the demurrer to the fraud claim without leave to amend.
The Cause of Action for Negligent Misrepresentation
The critical alleged misrepresentation as to immediate payment upon completion did not involve a past or existing material fact. Rather, it involved a promise to perform at some future time.
To maintain an action for deceit based on a false promise, one must specifically allege and prove, among other things, that the promisor did not intend to perform at the time he or she made the promise and that it was intended to deceive or induce the promisee to do or not do a particular thing. (Hills Trans. Co. v. Southwest Forest Industries, Inc. (1966) 266 Cal.App.2d 702, 708 [72 Cal.Rptr. 441]; Regus v. Schartkoff (1957) 156 Cal.App.2d 382, 389 [319 P.2d 721].)
Conclusion and Disposition
Since the trial court's rejection of Tarmann's fraud and negligent misrepresentation claims was correct and Tarmann neither argues nor suggests that her complaint states a cause of action under any other legal theory, she has not met her burden of proving the trial court abused its discretion in sustaining State Farm's demurrer to her fifth amended complaint without leave to amend.
Premo, J., and Cottle, J., concurred.