What is Tortious Interference with Contract?
Tortious interference with contract is a legal claim that allows a party to a contract to sue a third-party who knowingly interferes with and causes a breach of a contract. Under Minnesota law, a plaintiff must prove five elements to succeed on a claim for tortious interference with contract:
- The existence of a contract;
- The alleged wrongdoer’s knowledge of the contract;
- Intentional procurement of its breach;
- Without justification; and
See Kallok v. Medtronic, Inc., 573 N.W.2d 356, 362 (Minn. 1998).
With respect to employment law, tortious interference with contract claims often arise in the context of non-compete agreements. If a competitor hires an individual subject to a non-compete agreement and employs him or her in a manner that violates the non-compete agreement, the former employer may be able to sue both the employee (for breach of contract) and the competitor (for tortious interference with contract).
Takeaways: Tortious interference with contract claims can be important tools for employers who utilize non-compete or non-solicit agreements to prevent unfair competition. When determining how to enforce a non-compete or non-solicit agreement, determining whether a tortious interference with contract claim is available should be a key consideration. The potential of a claim for tortious interference with contract should also be considered when hiring an employee subject to a non-compete or non-solicit agreement.