Legal Memorandum: Prima Facie Tort in NY

Issue: Under New York law, is there a cause of action for prima facie tort?

Area of Law: Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Prima facie tort; Intentional infliction of harm
Jurisdiction: New York
Cited Cases: 912 N.Y.S.2d 53
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 02/01/2012

New York recognizes a cause of action called prima facie tort.

To state a claim for prima facie tort, plaintiff must plead “(1) the intentional infliction of harm, (2) which results in special damages, (3) without any excuse or justification, (4) by an act or series of acts which would otherwise be lawful.”  “[T]here is no recovery in prima facie tort unless malevolence is the sole motive for defendant’s otherwise lawful act or, in [other words], unless defendant acts from disinterested malevolence.”

Posner v. Lewis, 80 A.D.3d 308, 312, 912 N.Y.S.2d 53, 56 (1st Dep’t 2010) (citations omitted). 


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