This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
Express disclaimer of knowledge by the party making the representation shows that it is an expression of opinion only.1 If the owner of land does not know the location of one of the corners of such tract, and discloses such ignorance, his honest statement as to where he believes such corner is, or as to the length of that side, are statements of opinion, and do not amount to fraud.2
A statement which is ordinarily one of fact, such as financial condition, will be merely an opinion where the party states it as a mere matter of opinion or belief;3 such as a statement that he considers himself worth from ten to twenty thousand dollars clear.4 Thus a statement of the "estimated" amount of losses unadjusted, in suspense and in litigation, in a statement of an insurance company is a mere matter of opinion.5 Where defendant and plaintiff neither knew nor had means of knowing how many head of cattle defendant had and plaintiff knew all the facts, an action for false representations will not lie where defendant agrees to deliver one thousand and delivers only two hundred and fifty.6 A statement that a corporation is "just getting in shape to make nice money,"7 or that a mine will be very profitable,8 or that an ice plant with. which vendee is acquainted will produce a certain output per day if proper repairs are made,9 or that plaintiff's bid on certain work is as low as the work can be done and that there is no profit in it at that price,10 or that an accommodation maker "takes no risk,"11 are all of them statements of opinion and do not amount to fraud. If the purchaser has an opportunity to examine the goods which are sold' and to ascertain the quantity, a false statement as to quantity is said not to be fraud,12 as where the quantity was said to be one hundred bushels, while it" was in reality twelve bushels.13 A misstatement as to the cost of goods ordered, when the dimensions of the steel bars and the price per pound were both given and the purchaser had great experience in such business and could readily have computed the weight, is said not to be fraud.14 A statement made by a physician who is employed by one who is liable for personal injuries to another as to the future consequences of such injuries, is prima facie a statement of opinion, and the fact that such injuries do not heal within the time stated, does not of itself show fraud or misrepresentation.15 A statement that an injured person would recover in a certain length of time is an expression of opinion; and the fact that he does not recover within such time does not show that such statement was fraudulent.16. If the opinion of the physician is quoted falsely to the injured person to induce a compromise of his claim, such false statement may amount to fraud.17
24 Lake v. Tyree, 90 Va. 719, 19 S. E. 787; Wren v. Moncure, 95 Va. 369, 28 S. E. 588 [citing Gordon v. Butler, 105 U. S. 553, 26 L. ed. 1166; Parker v. Moulton, 114 Mass. 99, 19 Am. Rep. 315].
25 Bankson v. Lagerlaf (la.), 75 N. W. 661; Lancaster v. Richardson, 13 Tex. Civ. App. 682, 35 S. W. 749.
26 Colorado. Cooper v. Hunter, 8 Colo. App. 101, 44 Ac. 944.
Indiana. Pence v. Young, 22 Ind. App. 427, 53 N. E. 1060.
Kentucky. Morse v. Duryea, 174 Ky. 234, 192 S. W. 477!
Oregon. Fellows v. Evans, 33 Or. 30, 53 Ac. 491.
Texas. Hawkins v. Wells, 17 Tex. Civ. App. 360, 43 S. W. 816.
27 Home Gas Co. v. Mannington Co-op.
Window Grass Co., 63 W. Va. 266, 61 S. E. 329.
28 Southern Development Co. v. Silva, 125 U. S. 247, 31 L. ed. 678.
29 Tryce v. Dittus, 199 111. 189, 65 N. E. 220; Hegdale v. Wade, 78 Or. 349, 153 Ac. 107.
30 Mather v. Barnes, 146 Fed. 1000.
31 Sohan v. Gibson, 118 Ky. 403, 80 S. W. 1173.
32 Stewart v. Larkin, 74 Wash. 681, 134 Ac. 186.
1 Hunt v. Blanton, 89 Ind. 38; Rob-bins v. Barton, 50 Kan. 120, 31 Ac. 686; Watts v. Cummins, 59 Pa. St. 84; Fromer, etc., Co. v. Stanley, 95 Wis. 56, 69 N. W. 820.
2 Odell v. Story, 81 Neb. 437, 116 N. W. 269.
3 Robbins v. Barton, 50 Kan. 120, 31 Ac. 686; Grimes Dry Goods Co. v. Jordan, 7 Kan. App. 192, 53 Ac. 186; Redpath v. Lawrence, 42 Mo. App. 101; Friedman v. Peters, 18 Tex. Civ. App. 11, 44 S. W. 572; Fromer v. Stanley, 95 Wis. 56, 69 N. W. 820.
4 Fromer v. Stanley, 95 Wis. 56, 69 N. W. 820.
5 Warfield v. Clark, 118 la. 69, 91 N. W. 833.
6 Cole v. Smith, 26 Colo. 506, 58 Ac. 1086.
7 Younger v. Hoge, 211 Mo. 444, 18 L. R. A. (N.S.) 94, 111 S. W. 20.
8 Burwash v. Ballou, 230 111. 34, 15 L. R. A. (N.S.) 409, 82 N. E. 355.
9 Williamson v. Holt, 147 N. Car. 515, 17 L. R. A. (N.S.) 240, 61 S. E. 384.
10 Worrell v. Kinnear Mfg. Co., 103 Va. 719, 49 S. E. 988.
11 First National Bank v. Johnson, 133 Mich. 700, 103 Am. St. Rep. 468, 95 N. W. 975.
12 Sohan v. Gibson, 118 Ky. 403, 80 S. W. 1173.
13 Sohan v. Gibson, 118 Ky. 403, 80 S. W. 1173.
14 Dalhoff Const. Co. v. Block, 157 Fed. 227.