Tortious Interference With Contract
A cause of action can arise when another interferes with a business relationship. Tortious interference with a contract, also known as intentional interference with contractual relations, occurs when a business or individual who is not party to a contract engages in behavior that willfully disrupts a business relationship formalized by a contract.
Under New York Law, an action for interference with a contractual relationship is be based on five elements:
- A valid agreement between at least two parties;
- The interferer must have had knowledge of the agreement;
- The alleged interference must have caused the breach of contract;
- The interference must be intentional; and
- The interference caused the plaintiff to suffer damages.
Tortious interference with a contract may occur in a variety of ways. For example, it may occur when a vendor intentionally induces a purchaser to breach an agreement with another vendor. The motivation for the interference can be either to usurp the business opportunity or to merely financially punish a competitor.
Tortious interference can also occur when a holdover tenant of a property intentionally prevents a new lessee from taking possession of a property. A claim for intentional interference with contractual relationships can also be premised upon fraudulent representations, such as when an intentional misrepresentation of transportation costs causes a supplier to overbill a buyer.
The business and commercial litigation attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP can help clients determine the intricacies of contractual relationships and explore the appropriate legal strategy based on the contours of New York law. Gana Weinstein LLP can also advise clients as to the legal costs and benefits associated with pursuing a claim of alleged interference. Monetary damages are the most likely remedy with regard to tortious interference claims. Other times, injunctive or declaratory relief may be granted when monetary damages are inadequate.