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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
New York State Courts by Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP
Posted: June 7, 2019

Tortious Interference Claim Fails When Defendants’ Actions Motivated by Self-Interest and Other Economic Considerations

On June 5, 2019, the Second Department issued a decision in 255 Butler Assoc., LLC v. 255 Butler, LLC, 2019 NY Slip Op. 04345, holding that a tortious interference claim should have been dismissed because the complaint did not allege that the defendants acted for reasons other than self-interest and other economic considerations, explaining:

[C]onstruing the amended complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, it fails to state a cause of action to recover damages for tortious interference with prospective economic relations. The facts alleged in the amended complaint establish that the defendants’ alleged actions were motivated by self-interest and other economic considerations, and not for the sole purpose of harming the plaintiff. Moreover, the acts attributed to the individual members of the landlord were committed in their capacity as corporate officers, and the plaintiff failed to adequately allege independent torts committed by them.

(Internal citations omitted).

In New York, there are circumstances where 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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