NJ Appellate Court Provides Guidance on When Construction Firm Owners Can Be Personally Liable for CFA Violations

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Earlier this year, the New Jersey Supreme Court in Allen v. V & A Brothers, Inc., 208 N.J. 114 (2011), ruled on the question of whether officers, owners, managers and/or employees of businesses providing services to consumers can be sued individually (alongside the company) and be held personally accountable for statutory violations under New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. § 56:8-1 et seq. (“CFA”). In the context of that residential construction case, the Court held that they may, and adopted a fact-specific test for liability that will render it difficult for such defendants to extricate themselves from a case with a pre-trial motion, should they find themselves named in a lawsuit.

This week, the Appellate Division, in an (as yet) unreported decision, Kort v. Renier Van Aswegen, 2011 WL 5137833 (App. Div. Nov. 1, 2011), applied Allen for the first time in a construction case to impose attorneys’ fees and costs, personally, on a construction firm’s owner.

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