Fraudulent Inducement Claims Not Barred by Overlapping Contract Claims
Ambac Assurance Corp. v. Countrywide Home Loans Inc., 175 A.D.3d 1156 (1st Dep't 2019)
On the same day the First Department ruled against the seller in DLJ Mortgage Capital, it decided in Ambac Assurance that a monoline insurer's fraudulent inducement claim against Countrywide was not impermissibly duplicative of contract claims based on the same nonconforming loans.
It is settled that a claim for fraudulent inducement can be dismissed as duplicative of a claim for breach of contract if it seeks the same damages.33 In this case, the Court of Appeals already had recognized distinct measures of damages for Ambac's fraud and contract claims. Damages for any breaches of Countrywide's representations and warranties about its loan-origination practices or the quality of the loans in the securitizations were to be measured under the repurchase protocol in the parties' agreement.34 Damages for fraud, on the other hand, were to be measured "by reference to claims payments made based on nonconforming loans," and would include certain expenses incurred by Ambac that are not recoverable in contract.35 On that basis, the court allowed the fraud claim against Countrywide to survive, and removed yet another weapon from originators' arsenal.