Engstrom v. Whitebirch, Inc.Annotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the district court dismissing Plaintiff's complaint alleging two counts under the Minnesota Consumer Fraud Act, Minn. Stat. 325F.69, holding that a person who is targeted by a fraudulent demand and consequently pays an attorney to investigate his liability in response to that demand has been "injured" within the meaning of the private attorney general statute, Minn. Stat. 8.31, subd. 3a.
Plaintiff alleged that Defendant engaged in a practice of fraud by sending unlawful demand letters and that he suffered an injury by having to hire an attorney to respond to Defendant's fraudulent demands. The district court dismissed the counts based on violations of the Consumer Fraud Act for failure to state a claim. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that Plaintiff failed to sufficiently plead that he was injured by Defendant's purported violation of the Act. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendant's alleged violations of the Act caused him a pecuniary loss in the form of hiring an attorney to investigate and resolve the fraud, and therefore, Plaintiff alleged an injury sufficient to plead a cause of action under the private attorney general statute.