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Civil Liability for Aiding and Abetting Commercial Fraud, Breach of Fiduciary Duty and Other Business Torts

Protecting Unsuspecting Clients, Reaching New Types of Misconduct

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will provide guidance about the expanding scope and risks of civil liability for aiding and abetting another's actionable wrongs and offer strategies for preventing unsuspecting clients from getting trapped in avoidable litigation.


Aiding and abetting is being asserted with such frequency that chances are good most litigators already have or will encounter it. New cases are changing the legal landscape.

Aiding and abetting claims have historically emanated from fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). But now they spring up against unsuspecting third parties in routinely encountered cases, such as another's insurance bad faith or unlawful employment practices.

The most litigated issues are whether the defendant had the requisite knowledge of the wrong at the time aid was provided and whether the defendant knowingly provided substantial assistance to the principal wrongdoer, as in Twitter Inc. v. Taamneh, 598 U. S. 471 (2023) and In re Columbia Pipeline Group Merger Litigation, C.A. No. 2018-0484 (Del. Ch. June 30, 2023). What constitutes "knowledge" and "substantial assistance" may vary in fraud and fiduciary duty cases and the Supreme Court in Twitter, while clarifying some points, reaffirmed that the analysis is nuanced and not susceptible to bright line rules. There is no intent requirement, only reasonable foreseeability.

Listen as our panel offers insights to help clarify how aiding and abetting law has evolved and adapted to reach new types of misconduct, discusses expanded state recognition of the claim, and details what recent cases teach about the governing legal standards and the facts needed to establish them.



  1. Overview and history of aiding and abetting liability
  2. Substantive elements of civil liability for aiding and abetting
    1. Underlying actionable wrong
    2. Knowledge of the underlying wrong
      1. Effect of motive on knowledge analysis
      2. Reckless disregard and intentional ignorance
    3. Substantial assistance in perpetuating the wrong
      1. Affirmative actions
      2. Concealment
      3. Failing to speak when under obligation to do so
      4. Sliding scale: balancing level of assistance with amount of knowledge
      5. Causation
  3. Frequent defendants and factual scenarios
  4. Defenses
  5. Key cases


The panel will explore these and other key issues:

  • What constitutes knowledge of the primary wrong and what type of facts must be alleged to withstand a motion to dismiss?
  • What are common defenses to aiding and abetting torts?
  • What is the difference between aiding and abetting and conspiracy?
  • Is the use of "atypical" banking procedures a critical signifier of "knowledge"?
  • When can silence or a failure to clarify information amount to aiding and abetting?


Curran, Elizabeth
Elizabeth Curran

Special Counsel
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Ms. Curran is Special Counsel at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

 |  Read More
Eisman, Scott
Scott Eisman

Special Counsel
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Mr. Eisman is a Special Counsel in our dispute resolution practice, based in New York. He recently rejoined Freshfields...  |  Read More

Harkness, Timothy
Timothy P. Harkness

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Mr. Harkness represents clients in complex commercial litigation. He is particularly known for handling transnational...  |  Read More

Klein, Gayle
Gayle Klein

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Ms. Klein is a nationally recognized litigator with a practice that focuses on a full spectrum of commercial disputes,...  |  Read More

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