“One who intentionally and improperly interferes with the performance of a contract (except a contract to marry) between another and a third person by inducing or otherwise causing the third person not to perform the contract, is subject to liability to the other for the pecuniary loss resulting to the other from the failure of the third person to perform the contract.” Adler, Barish, Daniels, Levin & Creskoff v. Epstein, 393 A.2d 1175 (Pa. 1978).
This duty of non-interference applies whether or not there is a contract with a third party See Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 766, Comment (b) (1979)( “there is a general duty not to interfere intentionally with another’s reasonable business expectancies of trade with third persons, whether or not they are secured by contract…). This duty also applies to contracts that are terminable at will. Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 766, Comment (g) (1979). “Under Pennsylvania law, to succeed on a claim for tortious interference with existing or prospective business relationships, a party must show:
(1) The existence of a contractual or prospective contractual or economic relationship between the plaintiff and a third party
(2) Purposeful action by the defendant, specifically intended to harm an existing relationship or intended to prevent a prospective relation from occurring
(3) The absence of privilege or justification on the part of the defendant
(4) Legal damage to the plaintiff as a result of the defendant’s conduct and
(5) For prospective contracts, a reasonable likelihood that the relationship would have occurred but for the defendant’s interference.”
At Sidkoff, Pincus & Green P.C., our Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorneys handle many types of legal matters, including those involving tortious interference. To discuss your case with a Philadelphia business lawyer, call 215-574-0600 today or contact us online.