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How to Prove Aiding and Abetting a Breach of Fiduciary Duty Under New York Law

 

When an outside party, who has no direct contract with you, tortiously interferes with your business by inducing your clients or employees to stop working with you, there are various causes of action that may be at your disposal under New York law. In addition to the obvious claim for tortious interference, there is also a potential claim for aiding and abetting the breach of fiduciary duties owed to your company by someone that actually was under contract with you.

 

How to Prove a Claim an Aiding and Abetting Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim Under New York Law

The elements that a plaintiff must prove in order to prevail on this claim are as follows:

 

(1) a breach by a fiduciary of obligations to another;

(2) knowing participation by defendant in the breach; and,

(3) damages to plaintif.

(See, e.g., Kolbeck v. LIT America, Inc, 939 F Supp at 244, citing S & K Sales co v. Nike, Inc, 816 F2d 843, 847-48 [2d Cir 1987]).

 

The obvious advantage to this type of claim over the tortious inteference claim is that in the latter instance, the plaintiff is often also required to prove that the defendant induced the breach of contract (or, in this instance, fiduciary duty) without justification, which, as noted in "How to Prove Tortious Interference Under New York Law" is an extremely difficult burden to prove.