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Commercial Division Blog

Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
New York State Courts by Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP
Posted: October 18, 2018

Tortious Interference Claim Cannot Relate to a Contract that is Terminable at Will

On October 5, 2018, the Fourth Department issued a decision in American Recycling & Mfg. Co., Inc. v. Kemp, 2018 NY Slip Op. 06649, holding that a contract that is terminable at will cannot be the basis for a tortious interference claim, explaining:

With respect to that part of the second cause of action alleging tortious interference with contract, defendants established their entitlement to judgment as a matter of law by submitting the two contracts at issue and certain deposition testimony. The first contract, which was between plaintiff and a third party contractor, was terminable at will, and thus it cannot give rise to a cause of action for tortious interference with contract.

(Internal citations omitted).

In New York, there are circumstances where a someone can be held liable for causing someone else to break their contract with you (tortious interference with contract), and they can even be held liable for causing someone not to enter into a contract with you in the first place (tortious interference with prospective economic advantage). Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at jlundin@schlamstone.com if you or a client think someone has interfered with your rights relating to a contract.

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