Intentional (or tortious) interference with contract or prospective business relations is a legal claim where a plaintiff asserts that a third-party to a contract (or potential contract) purposely caused the other party to a contract to breach that contract. A plaintiff must prove five basic elements to succeed on such a claim:
1. The existence of the contract;
2. The third party’s knowledge of that contract;
3. Intentionally procuring a breach of that contract;
4. Doing so without justification; and
5. Causing damages.
See Kjesbo v. Ricks, 517 N.W.2d 585, 588 (Minn. 1994).
Interference with contract claims are commonly associated with non-compete agreements in the employment realm. Justification of the interference can be a defense to the claim, but the burden lies with the defendant. The claim can also lie with a "prospective advantage" or a yet unformed contract where one is “intentionally and improperly interfer[ing] with another's prospective contractual relation.” Moore v. Hoff, 821 N.W.2d 591, 596 (Minn. Ct. App. 2012) citing United Wild Rice, Inc. v. Nelson, 313 N.W.2d 628, 633 (Minn. 1982).
If you are involved with a dispute concerning alleged interference with a contract or business relation, call Wilson Law Group for help.