"It is a familiar rule, where representations consist in mere expressions of hope, expectations and the like, that the party to whom they are made is not legally justified in relying upon them and assuming them to be true. The representation of what one expects, or hopes, as about to take place, in order to induce action on the part of the person to whom made, may be honest, or may be fraudulent. If the former, then no action will lie upon the ground of fraud, if the expectation is not realized. If the representation is made fraudulently and with the intention to deceive, then the evidence must exhibit it in that character. For the presumption will be, in the absence of such evidence, that the person making the representation did so honestly, however extravagant in his hopes."17
16 Crompton v. Beedle, 75 Atl. 334, 335 (Vt. 1910).
17 Kley v. Healy, 149 N. Y. 351, 352 (1891); Chambers v. Mitchell, 123 111. App. 697, 598 (1905).
A representation that certain title companies would lend a certain amount on mortgage upon the property is promissory in its nature. A person has no right to rely thereon. So it is held in Kreshover v. Berger, 62 Misc. 613 (N. Y. 1909). But in the same case, on appeal,18 it was held that a statement that a title insurance company had accepted a certain loan on the premises, when in fact it had declined "to pass" a loan by reason of defects in the construction of a wall, is a material misrepresentation. Where the representations were that the enterprise in which the plaintiff was invited to put his capital "would yield large profits" or that "it was a good paying business," they were held promissory and matter of opinion, having respect to the development of the future.19
But even if reliance is placed upon the mere promises of the vendor as well as upon his false representations, still a cause of action for fraud may be maintained provided the representations have a material effect in accomplishing the deception. It is not necessary that they should be the sole inducing cause.20
And while fraud cannot be founded solely upon a promise not performed, even if the promisor never intended to fulfill the same, yet a statement of a present existing intent may be made the basis of fraud. Thus in Adams v. Gillig, 131 App. Div. 494 (N. Y. 1909), a grantee of land situated in the residential part of a city, while negotiating the contract of sale, and having a present and existing intention to erect an automobile garage, specifically represented to the grantor that he intended to use the property for dwelling houses and for no other purpose. Held there was a fraudulent misrepresentation as to an existing fact.21
18 Kreshover v. Berger, 135 App. Div. 27 (N. Y. 1909). 19 Sparman v. Kelm. 83 N. Y. 245 (1880). 20 Kley v. Healy, 127 N. Y. 561 (1891).
We have seen that generally there can be no fraud predicated upon expressions of hope, or expectation, and so there can generally be no fraud based upon expressions of value, for an expression of value is nothing more than an opinion.22 In one man's opinion the value of a piece of land may be far different than in another's.