Law Lessons from THE STAUBACH COMPANY OF PENNSYLVANIA V. GALLOWAY AUTOMOTIVE, LLC., T/A GALLOWAY CHRYSLER-DODGE, ET AL., App. Div., A-4512-08T1, December 3, 2010:
To prove a cause of action for either tortious interference with a prospective contractual relationship or for tortious interference with an existing contract, a plaintiff must prove that the interference was “inflicted intentionally and without justification.” 214 Corp. v. Casino Reinvestment Dev. Auth., 280 N.J. Super. 624, 628 (Law Div. 1994). See also Russo v. Nagel, 358 N.J. Super. 254, 268 (App. Div. 2003).
In Russo, the court described the elements of a cause of action for tortious interference with a contractual relationship as follows:
(1) actual interference with a contract;
(2) that the interference was inflicted intentionally by a defendant who is not a party to the contract;
(3) that the interference was without justification; and
(4) that the interference caused damage.
The court also observed in Russo that interference with a contract will be deemed intentional if the defendant “‘desires to bring it about or if he knows that the interference is certain or substantially certain to occur as a result of his action.’” Ibid. (quoting Restatement (Second) Torts, § 766A, comment e (1977)). The interference with a contract must include an element of malice, but not “in the literal sense requiring ill will toward [the] plaintiff.” Id. at 269.
Rather, “‘malice is defined to mean that the harm was inflicted intentionally and without justification or excuse.’” Ibid. (quoting Printing Mart-Morristown v. Sharp Elec. Corp., 116 N.J. 739, 751 (1989)).
A cause of action for tortious interference cannot succeed in the absence of proof of an intentional interference with a contract.
NOTE: My legal and mediation services are offered to clients in Fanwood 07023; Garwood 07027; Kenilworth 07033; Mountainside 07092; New Providence 07974; Roselle Park 07204; Roselle 07203; Elizabeth 07201; Linden 07036; Plainfield 07060; Rahway 07065; Summit 07901; Westfield 07090; Berkeley Heights 07922; Clark 07066; Cranford 07016; Hillside 07205; Scotch Plains 07076; Springfield 07081; Union 07083; Winfield; Carteret 07008; Dunellen 08812; East Brunswick 08816; Edison 08817; Jamesburg 08831; Metuchen 08840; New Brunswick 08901; Old Bridge 08857; Perth Amboy 08861; Sayreville 08871; South Amboy 08878; South River 08877; Avenel 07001; Colonia 07067; Iselin 08830; Woodbridge 07095; Somerset 08873; Somerville 08876 and Watchung 07069, New Jersey.