On appeal from the Superior Court, Appellate Division.
Chief Justice Poritz and Justices Handler, Pollock, O'hern, Garibaldi, Stein and Coleman join in the Court's opinion.
(This syllabus is not part of the opinion of the Court. It has been prepared by the Office of the Clerk for the convenience of the reader. It has been neither reviewed nor approved by the Supreme Court. Please note that, in the interests of brevity, portions of any opinion may not have been summarized).
The Princeton Insurance Company v. 349 Associates, L.L.C. Paul V. Profeta and Associates, Inc., et al.. 147 N.J. 337, 687 A.2d 736
Argued December 3, 1996 -- Decided February 3, 1997
In this appeal, the Court considers the validity of a preliminary injunction, which restrains 349 Associates, L.L.C. and Profeta Associates, Inc. (Profeta) from communicating with its tenants about the business practices of Princeton Insurance Company (Princeton) and from requiring its tenants to obtain insurance from companies other than Princeton.
Profeta operates a number of professional office buildings in New Jersey. As part of its standard lease agreement, Profeta requires that each tenant name the landlord as an additional insured on the tenant's property and general liability insurance policies. Twenty-two of Profeta's tenants are insured by Princeton.
In a letter dated March 11, 1996, Profeta reminded its professional tenants of its insurance requirements and encouraged all tenants covered by Princeton to attempt to insure with another carrier, explaining that Profeta had experienced a great deal of difficulty with the manner in which Princeton has processed its claims. Although the letter advised the tenants that they were free to insure with any reputable carrier they may choose, except Princeton, it suggested that another insurance company can offer lower rates and better service through an insurance broker known to Profeta.
Princeton filed a complaint in the Law Division alleging tortious interference with its contract rights and its prospective economic advantage, libel and slander of its reputation, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and group boycott. On Princeton's motion, the trial court entered the subject injunction.
The Appellate Division denied Profeta's motion for leave to appeal and for summary reversal of the preliminary injunction. One Judge of the Appellate Division Dissented.
The Supreme Court granted Profeta's motion for leave to appeal and stayed the injunction pending Disposition of the appeal.
HELD: Because Princeton has not established a likelihood of success on the ultimate issue and/or that money damages would be inadequate, the preliminary injunction is dissolved.
1. Because of the Disposition made, the Court does not address the second basis for the Dissent filed by the Appellate Division Judge -- that restraining the dissemination of the letter ...