Prima Facie Tort
In New York, prima facie tort protects plaintiffs from defendants who harm them with malicious intent, but in a way that is not technically or specifically unlawful. The elements of prima facie tort are: 1) lawful conduct not giving rise to an action for some other tort, 2) maliciously intended to harm the plaintiff, 3) and causing special damages 4) without justification.
Contact one of our experienced litigation lawyers today for a free case analysis.
Pleadings prepared in a prima facie tort cases must state the material facts, the cause of the harm and specifically allege the harm and allege special damages. Punitive damages cannot be recovered in prima facie tort claims. Malice is the critical element of a prima facie tort case. Normally lawful acts that harm the plaintiff must be done with malice. The defendant cannot act with any sort of social or legal justifications. The defendant’s sole motivation must be to hurt the plaintiff. For example, suppose a landlord wanted to get rid of a dental practice in their office space because the landlord does not like dentists. The landlord conspires with other people to get rid of the dentist for that reason alone. The other people do things that are not otherwise illegal, but, make the dentist’s patients uncomfortable. The dentist’s patients do not return for future treatments. The dentist goes out of business and leaves his office. In the example above malice can be established. Consider another example. Suppose an employee injures her foot and her boss makes her stand for the whole day. The employee complains but the boss cannot accommodate her because there are no chairs, and the boss wants to maintain appearances. Here, the boss has motivations besides the desire to hurt the employee. Therefore, if the employee were to sue their boss for prima facie tort, they would not be able to establish malice and their case would likely be dismissed.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN MALICIOUSLY HARMED OR YOU HAVE BEEN SUED FOR PRIMA FACIE TORT CALL THE AGGRESSIVE AND TOUGH NEW YORK TORT LITIGATION ATTORNEYS AT TILEM & ASSOCIATES TODAY. FREE CONSULTATIONS 877-377-8666
Plaintiffs must prove special damages in prima facie tort cases. Special damages are damages that are specific, measurable losses that are caused by the defendant’s conduct. These damages must be stated specifically in the complaint. In prima facie tort cases, general pleadings are not sufficient and they will be dismissed. Courts have dismissed complaints for not specifically articulating special damages. Other courts have dismissed complaints for vaguely stating that the defendant caused the plaintiff to lose sales and customers without specifically saying which sales and which customers the defendant made the plaintiff lose. The physical, financial, and psychological demands of litigation are also not considered special damages. Because special damages are so difficult to prove, it is important that you have the experienced and aggressive New York tort litigation lawyers at Tilem & Associates on your case from the beginning.
When something is actionable under a standard theory of tort liability, it cannot litigated under a prima facie tort theory. Types of conduct that are not actionable under prima facie tort include: fighting, entering someone’s property unlawfully, careless harmful acts, offensive gases or sounds that interfere with property enjoyment, breach of contract, holding someone in a place and not letting them leave, and inflicting emotional distress. Some argue injurious falsehood is a sort of prima facie tort. This is not correct. Injurious falsehoods are false statements. Prima facie tort often occurs when a defendant tells people true statements with intent to harm the plaintiff. Another main difference is that prima facie tort requires the defendant to harm the plaintiff with solely malicious intent. Injurious falsehood does not.
If you think you have a prima facie tort case or you have been sued for prima facie tort call the New York tort litigation lawyers at Tilem & Associates, PC. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for your rights.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN SUED FOR PRIMA FACIE TORT OR YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A CASE CALL THE EXPERIENCED AND AGGRESSIVE TORT LITIGATION ATTORNEYS AT TILEM & ASSOCIATES, PC TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION. At 877-377-8666.