Torts – Misrepresentation – Knowledge of Falsity Unnecessary

Defendant, a real estate broker, while showing plaintiffs a house which they subsequently purchased told them that the walls of the house were of tile construction with imitation stone on the outside. Defendant reasonably believed this to be true, although the walls actually had been cleverly constructed of earth, clay, and straw with a plaster covering on the inside and a tarlike preparation on the outside covered with a thin veneer of imitation stone, completely concealing their true nature. Purchasers brought an action, on the theory of deceit, against the broker to recover damages. A jury verdict for plaintiffs was set aside by the trial court, and defendant’s motion for a judgment non obstante veredicto was granted. The county court of appeals reversed and remanded the case for a new trial. On appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court, held, affirmed and remanded to the trial court, one justice dissenting. It was not necessary to allege or prove that defendant made the representation knowing it was false. Pumphery v. Quillen,. 165 Ohio St. 343, 135 N.E. (2d) 328 (1956).