Lawyers Poaching Clients Could Face Suit in NJ

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In a tough economy, businesses often go to great lengths to generate new business. However, for New Jersey lawyers, client poaching could land you in hot water.

Poaching Clients Could Face Suit in NJ

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently ruled that New Jersey lawyers could pursue tortious interference claims against their peers in some rare situations. The case, Nostrame v. Santiago, A-40-11, clarifies that plaintiffs in these cases must allege specific wrongful conduct, including misrepresentations, fraud or ethical violations, in order to sustain a suit.

In Nostrame v. Santiago, Frank J. Nostrame, Esq. was retained to pursue a medical malpractice claim. After filing the complaint, Nostrame received a letter from the client discharging him as her counsel and instructing him to turn over her file to Mazie Slater Katz & Freeman, LLC (Mazie Slater). After the case was ultimately settled for $1.2 million, Nostrame filed a lawsuit for a part of the legal fee claiming that Mazie Slater had tortiously interfered with his contract with the client by inducing her to discharge him.

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