signed to deflect plaintiffs' possible withdrawal from the case or appealing to the Court while the case was under advisement.
8. Finally, Ruiz-Mateos' behavior toward this Court tends to confirm that Rivero knew or should have known Ruiz-Mateos to be a person capable of, and practiced at, avoidance, if not evasion, of selected financial and legal obligations, and that therefore, Rivero should have obtained Ruiz-Mateos' reassurance before making representations to plaintiffs about Ruiz-Mateos' resources and intentions. The complaint in this case was served by mail addressed to each of the defendants.
Whatever formal defect there may be in the service of this complaint upon Ruiz-Mateos, it would be incredible if he did not know that he was personally a party to this suit. Yet, he has neither answered, moved, nor made a special appearance to quash attempted service or contest this Court's jurisdiction. Furthermore, he has stood mute while the Clerk of this Court entered a default. No judgment has been entered against him, awaiting resolution of the claim against his co-defendant. It will be now.
It is black letter law that a claimant establishes a claim of negligent misrepresentation by a showing that (1) the defendant negligently communicated false information; (2) the defendant anticipated or should have anticipated that the plaintiff would likely be disadvantaged by action taken or foregone in reliance upon the misrepresentation; and (3) plaintiff reasonably relied upon the false information to his detriment. See, e.g., Hall v. Ford Enterprises, Ltd., 445 A.2d 610, 612 (D.C. 1982).
The totality of all these circumstances and the pattern discernible from them, together with the record of Rivero's many years of service as Ruiz-Mateos' trusted nephew-agent for litigation, confirms plaintiffs' contention that:
1. On October 6, 1990, Rivero represented to plaintiffs that Ruiz-Mateos intended, and was able, to pay bills for past and future services, subject only to adjustments for particulars.
2. Plaintiffs relied on that representation to perform additional services, to incur additional out-of-pocket disbursements in furtherance of their services to Ruiz-Mateos, and to refrain from petitioning Judge Green for relief from further obligation to the client, or enforcement of the client' obligation to them.
3. In October Rivero knew, should have known, that Ruiz-Mateos did not intend to pay Kirkland's bills unless he won the case. If he was uncertain, he should have confirmed the representation with Ruiz-Mateos who was nearby. The relationship and course of dealing were such that plaintiffs had no right or duty to inquire directly of Ruiz-Mateos, even though he were nearby, unless Rivero's response to their October 6 inquiry had been negative or equivocal, which it was not.
The foregoing facts lead to the conclusions that Rivero held himself out to plaintiffs as, and was in fact, the spokesman for Ruiz-Mateos in respect to the attorney-client relationship between the plaintiffs and their client. He "is not relieved from liability [for a tort] by the fact that he acted at the command of a principal or on account of the principal." Camacho v. 1440 Rhode Island Avenue Corp., 620 A.2d 242, 246 (D.C. 1993). Plaintiffs were entitled to rely on Rivero's October and November 16 representations that Ruiz-Mateos was able to pay their bills and intended to do so. In reasonable reliance on those representations, plaintiffs incurred out-of-pocket disbursements and proceeded to trial of the pending litigation and continued to make out-of-pocket disbursements without seeking a continuance or intervention of Judge Green, or otherwise taking action to protect themselves against a default. It is more likely than not likely
that at the time Rivero made those representations Ruiz-Mateos intended not to pay plaintiffs' outstanding and future bills, adjusted for particulars, unless Judge Green decided the then pending case in his favor, as Rivero ultimately advised plaintiffs in February, 1991 after Judge Green's unfavorable decision. It is also more likely than not likely that Rivero either knew that was Ruiz-Mateos' intention and neglected to advise plaintiffs of it, or he did not knew and failed to ascertain Ruiz-Mateos' intentions before he made the erroneous representation to plaintiffs on which they relied to their detriment as he, Rivero, expected them to do.
It is well established, generally and in the District of Columbia, that "one engaged in supplying information has a duty to exercise reasonable care . . . . Where information is supplied directly to a third party (or indirectly for the benefit of a specific third party), then the same duty of reasonable care exists, notwithstanding a lack of privity." Security National Bank v. Lish, 311 A.2d 833 (D.C. 1973); see also Remeikis v. Boss & Phelps, Inc., 419 A.2d 986, 990-91 (D.C. 1980); Glanzer v. Shepard, 233 N.Y. 236, 135 N.E. 275 (N.Y. 1922). Rivero, and through him, Ruiz-Mateos, violated that duty.
For these reasons, an accompanying Order will direct the entry of judgments (1) for the Kirkland plaintiffs against defendant Ruiz-Mateos in the amount of $ 569,252.04, plus prejudgment interest from February 19, 1991
; (2) for Associated Valuation Technologies, Inc. against Ruiz-Mateos in the amount of $ 25,557.83, plus prejudgment interest from January 30, 1991
; (3) and against Rivero on Count IV of the Amended Complaint in an amount to be determined after further proceedings scheduled in that order.
Louis F. Oberdorfer
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Date: April 25, 1996
4:00 P.M. E.S.T.
For the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum, it is this 25th day of April 1996 hereby
ORDERED: that JUDGMENT should be, and is hereby, entered against defendant Rivero in favor of plaintiffs Kirkland & Ellis, et al. on Count IV of the Amended Complaint in an amount to be determined after a hearing which will be held on May 28, 1996 at 10:00 a.m. in Courtroom 3; and it is further
ORDERED: that plaintiffs' renewed motion for entry of default judgment against defendant Ruiz-Mateos should be, and is hereby, GRANTED; and it is further
ORDERED: that plaintiffs' motion for final judgment against defendant Ruiz-Mateos should be, and is hereby, GRANTED; and it is further
ORDERED: that JUDGMENT should be, and is hereby, entered for plaintiff Kirkland & Ellis against defendant Ruiz-Mateos in the principal amount of $ 569,252.04 plus pre-judgment interest at the rate of 6% per annum from February 19, 1991 to the date of payment; and it is further
ORDERED: that JUDGMENT should be, and is hereby, entered for Associated Valuation Technologies against defendant Ruiz-Mateos in the principal amount of $ 25,557.83 plus prejudgment interest at the rate of 6% per annum from January 30, 1991 to the date of payment.
Louis F. Oberdorfer
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE