Presumptions of Reliance: What They Really Mean and How to Defeat Them


When Henry Stanley posed the famous query, ‘‘Dr. Livingstone, I presume?,’’ he made a deduction based on common sense and probability. His question was amusing not only by virtue of its formality, but also because of the strength of the circumstantial evidence before him: In the Tanzanian village of Ujiji, David Livingstone was probably the only other Caucasian man for a thousand miles in any direction. Despite the strength of the circumstantial evidence, however, Stanley posed the words in the form of a question, not as a statement of fact. He allowed his addressee to verify the presumed fact.

In fraud-based class action litigation, plaintiffs often characterize presumptions of reliance as statements of fact, punctuated with an exclamation point rather than a question mark. Presumptions of reliance, they argue, arise whenever the defendant has misrepresented or omitted a ‘‘material fact.’’ This permits them to dispense with individualized proof that the defendant’s conduct actually duped class members to their detriment.

Originally published in BNA Product Safety & Liability Reporter on January 13, 2014.

Please see full alert below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Sedgwick LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Sedgwick LLP on:

Popular Topics
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.