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Misko v. Kowski

A-0261-05T2 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2006) (Unpublished)

CONTRACTS; TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE —In a claim by a seller that a neighboring property owner tortiously interfered with a contract of sale, it is relevant whether the neighbor provided truthful information to the prospective buyer.

A seller sold his condominium unit in a building that included five other units. After the contract of sale was executed, an owner of one of the other condominium units contacted the buyer and told him that the units were not year-round units but rather were intended for seasonal use. Subsequently, the buyer demanded that its seller reduce the purchase price by five thousand dollars, and the sale ultimately closed for the original amount less the reduction.

The seller then sued the other owner contending that the other owner tortiously interfered with his contract when he told the buyer that the condominium building was not open year-round. At trial, the lower court refused to instruct the jury that truthful information may serve as a defense against a claim of tortious interference. The jury found for the seller, and the other owner appealed, arguing that the fact that he provided the buyer with truthful information should have been considered in determining his liability for tortuous interference. The Appellate Division agreed, finding that the lower court should have instructed the jury that whether the owner provided truthful information to the buyer is relevant in determining tortious interference liability.

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