Protorae Law
Mike Holm | LeClairRyan | UBP Team

Unfair Business Practices



This blog focuses on unfair business and trade practices such as business conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of trade secrets and other proprietary information, fraud, tortious interference with contracts and other unfair business practices that are not neatly defined. Since we are located in Tysons Corner, Virginia, many of the cases discussed will come from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia courts. We hope the reader finds this blog instructive.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Court Dismisses Tortious Interference with Contract Claim Because It Only Alleged a Decrease in Business

In Signature Flight Support Corporation v. Landown Aviation Limited Partnership, the U.S. District Court dismissed the plaintiff's tortious interference with contract because the plaintiff failed to allege an "intentional interference of contract inducing or causing a breach or termination of the relationship or expectancy." 2008 U.S. District Lexis 93715 at *6-7 (E.D. Va. 2008) (emphasis added).

Rather, the plaintiff "only alleged that Defendant has induced or caused a decrease in the business that it expected to gain as a result of the contract." Id. at 7 (emphasis added). Thus, the Court found that "[b]y bringing a claim for 'intentional interference with contract' and failing to allege a breach or termination of that relationship, Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for tortious interference with contract." Id. The court relied about the Virginia Supreme Court's opinion in Chaves v. Johnson, 230 Va. 112 (1985)

To state a claim for tortious interference with contract, a plaintiff must allege: "(1) the existence of a valid contractual relationship; (2) the interferor's knowledge of the relationship; (3) intentional interference inducing or causing a breach or termination of the relationship; and (4) resulting damage to the plaintiff’s relationship. Id. at 5.

It will be interesting to track this decision to determine whether Virginia state courts will follow this interpretation of Chaves and the claim for intentional interference with contract.

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