Legal Memorandum: Tortious Interference in NY

Issue: What Statute of Limitations Applies to an Action for Tortious Interference with Contract or Business Relations under New York law?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts
Keywords: Tortious interference; Statute of limitations; Business relations
Jurisdiction: New York
Cited Cases: 859 N.Y.S.2d 904; 888 N.Y.S.2d 489
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 02/01/2012

Under New York law, a claim for tortious interference with contract is governed by a three-year statute of limitations and is not a continuing tort.  Andrew Greenberg v. Svane, Inc., 36 A.D.3d 1094, 830 N.Y.S.2d 358 (3d Dep’t 2007).  Such a claim is not enforceable until the damages are sustained, and that point, not the defendant’s wrongful act or the discovery of the injury by the plaintiff, is the relevant date to mark accrual.  Id. at 1099, 830 N.Y.S.2d at 362-63 (holding the accrual of the plaintiff’s action was at the time of the start of the damage by the tortious interference).  Accord Amaranth LLC v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., 71 A.D.3d 40, 888 N.Y.S.2d 489 (1st Dep’t 2009) (explaining that when the gravamen of a tortious interference claim is economic, not just reputational, injury, the three-year statute of limitations applies).  See also Monex Fin. Servs. Ltd. v. Dynamic Currency Conversion, Inc., 19 Misc. 3d 1113(A), 859 N.Y.S.2d 904 (Sup. Ct. Nassau County 2008) (stating rule that “[t]he claim accrues when the injury is sustained”).  The rule that the continuing tort doctrine does not apply to a claim for tortious interference with contract also applies to claims for tortious interference with existing and/or prospective business relations.  Id.  In Monex, the court applied this rule, holding that although the plaintiff alleged that the defendant “continued to interfere” with the agreement, the fact remained that the damage began more than four years before the complaint was filed, such that the […]

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