In ABC Seamless Siding & Windows, Inc. vs. Brian K. Ward, et al, Martin wanted to start a window and sidings business. He asked Brian Ward about insurance generally, and workers compensation insurance specifically. Martin claims that Ward told him if he only had two employees which were officers, he did not need workers comp insurance. This followed the information Martin received from his former employer, who also told him to be sure to get certificates of liability insurance from his subcontractors to verify that the subcontractors carried workers compensation insurance in the event of a work-related injury. Of course, Martin did not get workers comp insurance, and an employee of a subcontractor was hurt on the job. Martin had not gotten a certificate of coverage from the subcontractor, and coverage had lapsed at the time of the injury. Summary judgment to the insurance agent was affirmed.
The elements of claim for professional's negligent misrepresentation include: in the course of professional's business with specific persons in a specific transaction, professional gave information that was false for lack of due care, on which those persons reasonably relied to their detriment. Reliance depends on whether the information was a material factor in decision on the matter advised. Because plaintiff did its own investigation before making a decision on whether to buy workers' compensation insurance, plaintiff could not show reliance on insurance seller's advice.
Because ABC cannot, as a matter of law, demonstrate any reasonable reliance upon the statement attributed to Ward, and because reasonable reliance is a necessary showing for each of the claims ABC raised below, the trial court committed no error in granting summary judgment in favor of Ward. The trial court’s judgment is affirmed