Independent Tort Doctrine

Not many people are aware of what is called the independent tort doctrine. Essentially, the doctrine prohibits tort actions between parties to a contract such that a plaintiff cannot assert a mirrored tort claim, such as a claim of negligence, independent of or in addition to a claim for breach of contract against the defendant. In other words, the plaintiff cannot assert a tort action premised upon the same issues addressed in a contract. So if you are saying that a mechanic breached their duty under a contract to repair your vehicle, you cannot also state that they were negligent for those repairs, unless there are facts in the negligent claim that are independent of the breach of contract claim. The negligent claim and count can’t merely mirror the breach of contract claim. The tort, such as negligence, must be independent of the any contract related claims.

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