Definition of DECEIT in Black's Law Dictionary 4th Edition – Legal dictionary – Glossary of legal terms.

Definition of DECEIT

A fraudulent and cheating misrepresentation, artifice, or device, used by one or more persons to deceive and trick another, who is ignorant of the true facts, to the prejudice and damage of the party imposed upon. People v. Chadwick, 143 Cal. 116, 76 P. 884; French v. Vining, 102 Mass. 132, 3 Am.Rep. 440; In re Post, 54 Hun, 634, 7 N.Y.S. 438.

A fraudulent misrepresentation or contrivance, by which one man deceives another, who has no means of detecting the fraud, to the injury and damage of the latter.

A subtle trick or device, whereunto may be referred all manner of craft and collusion used to deceive and defraud another by any means whatsoever, which hath no other or more proper name than deceit to distinguish the offense. [West Symb. § 68]; Jacob.

A "deceit" is either : (1) The suggestion, as a fact, of that which is not true, by one who does not believe it to be true; (2) the assertion, as a fact, of that which is not true, by one who has no reasonable ground for believing it to be true; (3) the suppression of a fact, by one who is bound to disclose it, or who gives information of other facts which are likely to mislead for want of communication of that fact; or (4) a promise, made without any intention of performing it. Civ.Code Cal. § 1710; Civ.Code S.D. § 1293 (Comp.Laws 1929, § 797).

To constitute "deceit," the statement must be untrue, made with knowledge of its falsity or with reckless and conscious ignorance thereof, especially if parties are not on equal terms, made with intent that plaintiff act thereon or in a manner apparently fitted to induce him to act thereon, - and plaintiff must act in reliance on the statement in the manner contemplated, or manifestly probable, to his injury. Corley Co. v. Griggs, 192 N.C. 171, 134 S.E. 406, 407; Pain v. Kiel, C.C.A.Mo., 288 F. 527, 529. See, also, Crossman v. Bacon & Robinson Co., 119 Me. 105, 109 A. 487, 489; Alpine v. Friend Bros., 244 Mass. 164, 138 N. E. 553, 554; Hood v. Wood, 61 Okl. 294, 161 P. 210, 213.

The essential elements of "deceit" are representation, falsity, scienter, deception, and injury. Ochs v. Woods, 221 N.Y. 335, 117 N.E. 305, 306.

In Old English Law

The name of an original writ, and the action founded on it, which lay to recover damages for any injury committed deceitfully, either in the name of another, (as by bringing an action in another's name, and then suffering a nonsuit, whereby the plaintiff became liable to costs,) or by a fraudulent warranty of goods, or other personal injury committed contrary to good faith and honesty. Reg.Orig. 112-116; Fitzh.Nat.Brev. 95, E, 98.

Also the name of a judicial writ which formerly lay to recover lands which had been lost by default by the tenant in a real action, in consequence of his not having been summoned by the sheriff, or by the collusion of his attorney. Rosc.Real Act. 136; 3 B1.Comm. 166.

In General

Deceitful plea. A sham plea; one alleging as facts things which are obviously false on the face of the plea. Gray v. Gidiere, 4 Strob., S.C., 443.

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