To determine whether a plaintiff has stated a claim for
negligent misrepresentation, this court adheres to the standards in the
Restatement (Second) of Torts § 552(1), (2) (1977) which provides:
(1) One who, in the course of his business, profession
or employment, or in any other transaction in which he has a pecuniary
interest, supplies false information for the guidance of others in their
business transactions, is subject to liability for pecuniary loss caused to
them by their justifiable reliance upon the information, if he fails to
exercise reasonable care or competence in obtaining or communicating the
(2) Except as stated in Subsection (3), [which pertains
to the liability of one who is under a public duty to furnish such
information] the liability stated in Subsection (1) is limited to loss
(a) by the person or one of a limited group of persons
for whose benefit and guidance he intends to supply the information or knows
that the recipient intends to supply it; and
(b) through reliance upon it in a transaction that he
intends the information to influence or knows that the recipient so intends
or in a substantially similar transaction.
Transamerica Title Ins. Co.
v. Johnson, 103 Wn.2d 409, 415-16, 693 P.2d 697 (1985); Wilbur v.
Western Properties, 22 Wn. App. 458, 463, 589 P.2d 1273 (1979).
In deference to legitimate fears of indeterminate
liability to third persons, the Restatement narrows the scope of an action
for negligent misrepresentations. Liability does not extend to every person
who ultimately becomes aware of the misstatement. Instead, because of the
“important social policy of encouraging the flow of commercial information
upon which the operation of the economy rests”, the defendant must be
“manifestly aware of the use to which the information was to be put and
intended to supply it for that purpose.” Restatement (Second) of Torts §
552, comment a (1977). Indeed, “[w]hen there is no intent to deceive but
only good faith coupled with negligence, the fault of the maker of the
misrepresentation is sufficiently less to justify a narrower responsibility
for its consequences.” Restatement (Second) of Torts § 552, comment a.
Liability for negligent misrepresentations is thus limited to cases where
(1) the defendant has knowledge of the specific injured party’s reliance; or
(2) the plaintiff is a member of a group that the defendant seeks to
influence; or (3) the defendant has special reason to know that some member
of a limited group will rely on the information. See Chubb Group of Ins.
v. C.F. Murphy & Assocs., 656 S.W.2d 766 (Mo. Ct. App. 1983). However,
[I]t is not
necessary that the maker should have any particular person in mind as the
intended, or even the probable, recipient of the information. In other
words, it is not required that the person who is to become the plaintiff be
identified or known to the defendant as an individual when the information
is supplied. It is enough that the maker of the representation intends it to
reach and influence either a particular person or persons, known to him, or
a group or class of persons, distinct from the much larger class who might
reasonably be expected sooner or later to have access to the information and
foreseeably to take some action in reliance upon it. It is enough, likewise,
that the maker of the representation knows that his recipient intends to
transmit the information to a similar person, persons or group. It is
sufficient, in other words, insofar as the plaintiff’s identity is
concerned, that the maker supplies the information for repetition to a
certain group or class of persons and that the plaintiff proves to be one of
them, even though the maker never had heard of him by name when the
information was given.
Restatement (Second) of Torts §
552, comment h (1977).