Baldwin & Briscoe P.C.
301-862-4400
22335 Exploration Drive Ste. 2030
Lexington Park, MD 20653
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Tortious Interference with Contractual Relations

 

A claim for tortious interference with economic relations is comprised of two different types of claims.  In one type of claim, the plaintiff brings an action for the defendant’s intentional and improper inducement of a breach of an existing contract.  In a different type of claim, the plaintiff sues for the intentional and improper interference with economic relationship in absence of a breach of contract or for interference with business expectations.

 

  The elements that a plaintiff must plead and prove under the first type of claim are as follows:

  1.       A contract existed

  2.       That the defendant knew about the contract

  3.       That the defendant intentionally and improperly conducted himself in a way that caused a third party to breach that contract or made it impossible for the third party to perform under the contract

  4.       That the third party breached the contract or was unable to perform; and

  5.       That as a result, the plaintiff suffered damages.

 

  Only a person who is not a party to the agreement can be liable for interference with a contract.  Where the offending party is a party to the contract, the plaintiff must look to some other means to recover.  The Court of Appeals has not allowed a party to transfer a breach of contract claim into an intentional tort.

 

  The conduct giving rise to the tort need not be extreme, but it does need to be purposeful.  If the conduct persuades another to breach or fail to perform, there must be liability.  The courts will consider a number of factors to determine whether the defendant’s conduct is intentionally interfering with a contract.  These factors include the nature of the actor’s conduct, the actor’s motive, the interests of the other with which the actor’s conduct interferes, the inters sought to be advanced by the actor, the social interests in protecting the freedom of action of the actor and the contractual interests of the other, the proximity or remoteness of the actor’s conduct to the interference; and the relation between the parties.

 

  The interference with contract may be in the form of violence or intimidation, deflation, crimes, threats of groundless civil lawsuits or criminal prosecutions in bad faith.  It is important to distinguish between the actor’s motives.  A person can act knowingly and willfully, but if the person has a legitimate motive other than interfering with another’s contract, that person’s actions may not give rise to a tort claim.

 

  Tortious interference with contract cannot be used to chill legitimate business competition.  For example a competitor who pursues an employee of another’s business who is employed at-will, does not improperly interfere with the existing employment contract, unless the competitor uses improper means. 

 

  In this tort, the court can award compensatory damages.  Damages are measured according to what would reasonably flow from the tortious act.  These may include the loss of benefits under the contract, plus consequential damages, emotional distress and damages for harm to one’s reputation. 

 

  A plaintiff may also recover punitive damages for tortious interference where the plaintiff can show that the defendant’s conduct was motivated by actual malice, i.e., evil motive, intent to injure, ill will or fraud.

 

  Sometimes a claim for Tortious interference with Contract will overlap with other claims, such as defamation or tortious interference with economic relations. 

 

 

The information contained on this page is provided as general information and does not constitute legal advice.  The experienced attorneys at Baldwin & Briscoe, P.C. can assist you if you have, or believe you may have, a claim for Tortious Interference with Contract.  We’d be happy to sit down with you and review your situation and provide appropriate advice.  Call today for a no-obligation consultation.  There is no consultation fee for cases involving personal injury.

 

 

The Law Offices of Baldwin & Briscoe, P.C. also offers these services:

Bankruptcy and ForeclosureBusiness LawCivil LitigationCriminal DefenseEmployment, Disability, and Consumer RightsFamily LawGovernment Contracts LawIntellectual Property, Personal InjuryReal Estate, Social Security Disability & Workers’ Compensation and Wills, Trusts, & Estates

 

 

 

Contact Us

The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C.

22335 Exploration Drive

Suite 2030

Lexington Park, MD 20653

301-862-4400 Phone

301-862-3009 Fax

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Samuel C.P. Baldwin, Jr., Esq.

Janice Briscoe, Esq.

Richard J. Steinmetz Jr., Esq.

David J. Hebb, Esq.

Sandra Kaufman Jonasen, Esq.


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With an office conveniently located in Lexington Park, The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Stienmetz, P.C. serves clients in the counties and cities of Lexington Park, Leonardtown, Hollywood, Mechanicsville, Loveville, Helen, Breton Bay, Chaptico, Charlotte Hall, Golden Beach, Avenue, La Plata, Waldorf, Newburg, Port Tobacco, Port Charles, Solomons Island, Prince Frederick, Chesapeake Shores, Hughesville, Benedict, Nanjemoy, Lusby, Port Republic, St. Mary's County, Charles County, Calvert County, Prince George's County, Southern Maryland.


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