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Tortious interference with existing contractual relationship

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Elements of claim Edit

“In order to state a claim for tortious interference with existing contractual relationships, a plaintiff must allege: (1) it had a contract with a third party; (2) the defendant knowingly induced the third party to break the contract; (3) the defendant had an improper motive or means for doing so; and (4) it was harmed by such actions.” [1]

Defenses Edit

As an affirmative defense to a charge of tortious interference with contract, a defendant may show that its actions were justified.[2]

One who, by asserting in good faith a legally protected interest of his own or threatening in good faith to protect the interest by appropriate means, intentionally causes a third person not to perform an existing contract or enter into a prospective contractual relation with another does not interfere improperly with the other's relation if the actor believes that his interest may otherwise be impaired or destroyed by the performance of the contract or transaction.[3]

"The test of whether there is justification for conduct which induces a breach of contract turns on a balancing of the social and private importance of the objective advanced by the interference against the importance of the interest interfered with, considering all the circumstances including the nature of the actor's conduct and the relationship between the parties."[4]

References Edit

  1. In re America Online, Inc. Version 5.0 Software Litigation, 168 F.Supp.2d 1359, 1381 (S.D. Fla. 2001) (full-text).
  2. See A.F. Arnold & Co. v. Pacific Professional Ins., Inc., s, 104 Cal.Rptr. 96, 99 (1972) (full-text).
  3. Restatement (Second) of Torts §773.
  4. Richardson v. La Rancherita La Jolla, 98 Cal.App.3d 73, 81, 159 Cal.Rptr. 285 (1979).

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