Stengart v. Loving Care Agency, Inc., No. BER-L-858-08 (Law Div., November 4, 2010) –  A Law Division judge has ruled that aiding and abetting liability under the NJLAD may extend to a corporate holding company where the alleged harassers are members of its Board of Directors. The plaintiff, a former Director of Nursing, alleged hostile environment harassment based upon gender, religion and national origin, as well as constructive discharge. Her complaint included allegations of aiding and abetting against LCA Holding, Inc., the holding company that acquired the employer’s assets. The court recited the test to establish aiding and abetting liability; that is, the plaintiff must show that (1) the party whom the defendant aids performed a wrongful act that caused injury; (2) the defendant was generally aware of its role as part of an overall tortious activity at the time that it provides the assistance; and (3) the defendant must have knowingly and substantially assisted the principal violation. The court then noted that LCA falls within the definition of a “person” under the NJLAD’s aiding and abetting provision and concluded that LCA could be liable as an aider and abettor to the plaintiff’s harassers. “As [the harassers] were members of the LCA Board of Directors, and as LCA acted through its Board, the same jury that finds [the harassers] liable for aiding and abetting can rationally conclude that LCA is also liable for aiding and abetting.”

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