A private right of action allows a private plaintiff, in contrast to a government or a public agency, to bring an action seeking judicial relief from injuries caused by another’s violation of a legal requirement such as a statute. Unless a law confers a private right of action, a cause of action brought by a private plaintiff based upon that law will be subject to dismissal pursuant to CPLR §3211(a)(7) for failing to state a cause of action.

Possessing a valid private right of action can be highly valuable to a plaintiff because recovery of damages might be had where none would otherwise be and because statutes establishing private right of actions often provide for recovery of compensatory damages and additional damages, such as punitive damages and attorney fees.

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