Interference With Contractual Relations

The business tort of interference with contractual relations is similar to, and often associated with, the business tort of interference of economic relationships.  It is a common example of a third-party tortious interference claim.  For example, a person or business who improperly interferes with the performance of a contract can be liable if the person obligated to perform the contract fails to perform the contract.  In the business context, this may also be a direct action for a breach of contract lawsuit.

Elements of Interference With Contractual Relations:

In short, to prove interference with contractual relations an injured or damaged party must establish: (1) some protectable contract right that a business relationship exists, (2) that the contractual interference was done intentionally, (3) that the contractual interference caused the loss of some economic gain, and (4) that the contractual interference, in fact, caused damage or injury.  Tortious interference with contract occurs when the third-party convinces a party to breach the contract with the plaintiff, or where he intentionally disrupts the ability of one party to perform his obligations under the contract.

In order to bring an interference with contractual relations lawsuit, an injured party must be able to prove they have a protectable contract right, there is an existing business relationship, the interference of the business relationship was intentional, the act caused the loss of an economic gain, and the interference caused the injury in fact.

Tortious Interference With Contract

The business tort of interference with contract can protect businesses from interference and tampering by competitors or those with those who otherwise intend to cause harm to a business.  Interference with contract is often associated with the business tort of interference with economic relationship.  Interference with contract claims can be a valuable tool for businesses to help stop competitors from improperly competing, interfering or otherwise harming a business relationship or contractual relationship.  Tortious interference claims are often brought with breach of contract, breach of employment contract, breach of noncompete, and related claims.  The goal, and ultimately, the remedies of such claims are designed to protect a plaintiff’s business from unjustifiable interference with their commercial or economic relationships.

The Restatement (Second) of Torts sheds light on the scope of tortious interference with contract and prospective advantage: “intentionally inducing or otherwise causing a third party not to perform his contract with the injured party [business] … by preventing the injured party [business] from performing his own contract with a third person or by making his performance more burdensome or expensive.”

Based on the right to enter and perform lawful contracts, the tort of interference with contract provides a remedy when someone induces a party to break an existing contract or commits tortious acts that render contractual performance impossible.  A tortious interference with contractual relations claim can be a valuable tool in a business dispute for a person or Illinois business entity who believes that a client or competitor is interfering with a valuable relationship.

Elements of Interference With Contract Claim

For a claim for interference with contractual relations, a plaintiff must establish: (1) a valid and enforceable contract between plaintiff and a third party; (2) that defendant was aware of the contract between plaintiff and the third party; (3) that the defendant’s actions were intentional and improper; (4) that the defendant’s actions caused injury to plaintiff; and (5) that plaintiff suffered damages.

Damages for Interference With Contract

Damages for interference with contract can be monetary or equitable.  Monetary damages could include compensatory damages to cover the loss of the benefits of the contract, lost profits and even punitive damage to punish the wrongdoer.  For punitive damages in interference with contract cases, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was malicious and with ill intent.  Equitable remedies interference with contract could include injunctive relief such as a temporary restraining order, or preliminary injunction to prevent the defendant tortfeasor from continuing and benefiting from his interference.

Contact our Chicago Business Litigation Attorneys

Our Chicago business litigation attorneys stand ready to consult and assist with your interference with contract matter.  Litigating business disputes can be difficult, but we are here to help.  Our attorneys can assist you with the prosecution or defense of your case.  We have experience in handling cases in state and federal courts throughout Illinois, including Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County and Will County.  For additional information about our business dispute lawyers and to discuss your business disputes and contract disputes, please contact our Chicago law firm at 312-789-5676.  We provide free consultation and competitive hourly rates.