A person can bring a suit for interference with contractual relations when a third party interrupts contract negotiations that would have resulted in a binding contract The law attempts to protect parties' contractual negotiations from outside disruption.

Although state laws may vary, intentional interference with contractual relations typically consider these issues:

  • Did a contractual relationship exist?
  • Did the outsider have knowledge of this contractual relationship?
  • Did the outsider intentionally act to disrupt the contractual relationship?
  • Was the contractual relationship actually disrupted?
  • What were the damages to the injured party?

The disruptor's knowledge is an important element of intentional interference with contractual relations. Thus, an actor who has no knowledge of the existence of a contract cannot be held liable when a breach results from his lawful acts. Furthermore, if the actor's purpose was not to interfere with contractual relations, he cannot be liable even if his actions have the unintended effect of discouraging one party from dealing contractually with the other. In other words, the actor must intend to cause the fallout in contractual relations.

Furthermore, the outsider must have no legitimate social or economic interest in the contractual relationship.

Do I Need an Attorney?

If you believe that someone has disrupted a contract relationship you are involved in you should probably speak to a lawyer. An experienced business lawyer will inform you of your legal rights as well as preserve any possible legal remedies you may have. If you have been accused of intentionally disrupting contractual relations, you should speak to a lawyer immediately.