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Argued February 13, 2002

This case arises out of a construction contract between Commerce Bank, N.A. (Commerce) and Di Maria Construction, Inc. (DiMaria). DiMaria claimed that Commerce had breached the contract. A panel of arbitrators from the American Arbitration Association (AAA) found in DiMaria’s favor. Accordingly, the arbitrators ordered Commerce to pay DiMaria an amount relating to specified phases of the construction project, and to pay a separate amount more generally reflecting “damages suffered by [DiMaria] related to all other contractual topics.” That award was confirmed in the Law Division and affirmed on appeal. Commerce Bank v. DiMaria Constr., Inc., 300 N.J. Super. 9, 13, 21 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 151 N.J. 73 (1997), cert. denied, 522 U.S. 1116, 118 S. Ct. 1053, 140 L. Ed. 2d 116 (1998).

Following the arbitrators’ award, DiMaria filed this action against Interarch, Shirley Hill, and Raymond A. Klumb (defendants) in the Law Division, alleging tortious interference with the prior construction contract and interference with its prospective economic advantage. At the time of the contract, defendants acted as agents of Commerce. The jury found in DiMaria’s favor, awarding both compensatory and punitive damages.

 
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