New York and New Jersey Business Tort Litigation
Complex contract litigation has a way of generating multiple claims and counterclaims, not all of which relate strictly to the central issues of contract performance, breach or damages. Business tort claims such as fraud, material nondisclosure or breach of fiduciary duty can often be presented as additional counts of a civil complaint, or raised as counterclaims against the plaintiff. Whether raised in the original lawsuit or introduced by the defendant, the issues involved in business tort litigation can even overwhelm the original contract dispute.
At Kaiser Saurborn & Mair, our attorneys' familiarity with complex civil litigation allows us to identify potential business tort claims, incorporate them into a broader litigation strategy, and find ways to use them to the advantage of our clients in settlement negotiations or in open court. Business and individual clients in New York and New Jersey appreciate our ability to litigate tort claims effectively, both as plaintiffs and as defendants.
Well-Founded Business Tort Allegations Can Defeat Contract Claims
Unlike contract claims, which generally reflect the specific terms of an express agreement and the rights and obligations that can be inferred from them, business torts depend on a different set of legal principles, primarily the general duties of honesty and fair dealing.
For example, even though a contract might provide that no external statements or representations will operate to vary its terms, a defendant alleged to have broken the contract might nevertheless prove that the plaintiff engaged in a pattern of deceptive activity and false statements prior to execution, without which the contract would never have been signed. The agreement itself can thus be shown to be a fraudulent transaction, and the defendant relieved of liability.
Business torts can be alleged and proved by a party damaged by the misconduct of another, or offered as a defense to allegations of breach in situations involving:
- Material misrepresentation or nondisclosure.
- Breach of fiduciary duty or self-dealing.
- Inducing an employee or former employee to violate restrictive covenants concerning noncompetition, trade secrets, or solicitation of customers.
- Unfair competition through false advertising, oppressive pricing or commercial defamation.
It's not enough to prove the legal elements of a business tort on the basis of the facts. It's also necessary to show that the tortious conduct of another resulted in damages. Our lawyers' experience with the proof of both liability and damages under complex factual circumstances helps clients in both New York and New Jersey use business tort claims and defenses to strong effect both as independent claims and as part of broader contract disputes.