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Interference alone is not enough – Ya gotta mean it!

A law firm avoids liability on a claim of tortious interference with contract rights today because the plaintiff business failed to allege that the law firm intended to cause the alleged harm.

The ruling in DurretteBradshaw, P.C. v. MRC Consulting, L.C. tightens the standard for making a contract interference claim.

The defendant law firm was accused of undermining a contract between a buyer and a seller in order to torpedo a lost profits insurance claim by the seller, whose goods were lost in an accident.  The lawsuit claimed that the law firm’s action also had the predictable result of sinking a deal where the plaintiff was going to supply replacement goods to the seller.

Although the plaintiff alleged that the law firm knew of the “obvious impact” of its actions on the plaintiff, the law firm wins on appeal because the plaintiff did not (and presumably could not) allege that the firm intended to affect the plaintiff’s contract to supply replacement goods.

The high court today reversed the trial court’s overruling of  the law firm’s demurrer and entered judgment for the firm.

By Peter Vieth

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