Two questions arise in regard to fraudulent statements of opinion. The first question involves the dividing line between statements of fact and opinion. The second question concerns the liability of one who fraudulently expresses what is confessedly an opinion in order to induce action by the other party. Closely analogous questions arise in the law of warranty 15 concerning the liability of a seller who makes statements in regard to goods which may be regarded as matters of opinion. The dividing line separating statements of fact from statements of opinion is confessedly hard to draw. In a doubtful case the determination of it is one of fact for the jury.16 The question to be determined is whether the speaker must properly have been understood as asserting absolutely the truth of his statements, or only a belief that the facts corresponded with his statements. In determining this question, not simply the form of speech used but also the subject-matter of the remark must be considered. Any statement may be put in the form of an expression of opinion by the use of such words as "I think," or, "I believe." But even when statements positive in form are made, the hearer may often know perfectly well that the expression is necessarily one of opinion. Statements that things are "good," or "valuable," or "large," or "strong," necessarily involve to some extent an exercise of individual judgment, and even though made absolutely, the hearer must know, can only be based on the speaker's opinion.17 It is plain, however, that though the boundaries of quality asserted by such statements are indeterminate - often so indeterminate as necessarily to preclude relief - they cannot be Btretched indefinitely. A false statement that "the mill is doing well" when the mill was hopelessly insolvent, was rightly held an actionable fraud.18
74 Me. 470, and Davis v. Davis, 97 Mich. 419, 66 N. W. 774, seem better. 14 Smith v. Kay, 7 H. L. C. 750; Wagner p. National life Ins. Co., 90 Fed. 395, 33 C. C. A. 121; Brown v.
Search, 131 Wis. 109, 111 N. W. 210.
15 See mpra, Sec. 971.
16 Dawson v. Graham, 48 Iowa, 378; Kimball v. Bangs, 144 Mass. 321, 11 N. E. 113.