Thursday, March 2, 2017

Elements of tortious interference claim in Texas

The elements of tortious interference with an existing contract are: (1) the existence of a contract subject to interference; (2) the occurrence of an act of interference that was willful and intentional; (3) the act was a proximate cause of the plaintiff's damage; and (4) actual damage or loss occurred. Baty v. ProTech Ins. Agency, 63 S.W.3d 841, 857 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2001, pet. denied). "To prevail on a tortious-interference claim, a plaintiff must present evidence that the defendants interfered with a specific contract." Funes v. Villatoro, 352 S.W.3d 200, 213 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2011, pet denied). In addition, to establish the element of a willful and intentional act of interference, the plaintiff must produce evidence that the defendant was a more-than-willing participant and knowingly induced one of the contracting parties to breach its obligations under the contract. Id. To do so, the plaintiff must present evidence that an obligatory provision of the contract was breached. Id.


he elements of tortious interference with a prospective business relationship are: (1) a reasonable probability that the plaintiff would have entered into a business relationship; (2) an independently tortious or unlawful act by the defendant that prevented the relationship from occurring; (3) the defendant did such act with a conscious desire to prevent the relationship from occurring or the defendant knew the interference was certain or substantially certain to occur as a result of the conduct; and (4) the plaintiff suffered actual harm or damages as a result of the defendant's interference. Baty, 63 S.W.3d at 860. "To prevail on a claim for tortious interference with a prospective business relationship, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant intentionally prevented the formation of the business relationship." Id.