Legal Memorandum: Claim for Tortious Interference with Contract

Issue: Under the law of the Virgin Islands, what must a plaintiff establish to prevail on a claim of tortious interference with contract?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts
Keywords: Claim for tortious interference with contract; Intent; Damage
Jurisdiction: Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: Restatement (Second) of Torts § 766 (1979)
Date: 04/01/2015

There are five elements involved in a claim for tortious interference with contract:

(1)               a legal contract must exist (voidable or unenforceable apply, but contracts void ab initio do not);


(2)               wrongdoer had knowledge of the contract’s existence (actual knowledge not required);


(3)               purposeful intent to interfere with the contract (though, in rare cases, negligent interference may suffice);


(4)               the interference proximately caused the damage; and


(5)               the plaintiff suffered actual damage.

3 Business Torts, 11, Elements, § 11.03.  In most jurisdictions, the pivotal considerations are: “the intent of the actor, the purpose of the interference, and the means used to accomplish the interference.”  Id.  The Virgin Islands Superior Court has found:

A claim of tortious inference with contract requires proof of intentional and improper interference with the performance of a contract between another and a third person. This intentional and improper interference occurs by inducing or otherwise causing the third party to not perform the contract. The Restatement provides that a tortious interference claim can be brought in the context of contracts terminable at-will.

Sorber v. Glacial Energy VI, LLC, 2013 V.I. LEXIS 12, 19-20, (V.I. Super. Ct. Mar. 7, 2013) (Caroll, J.) (citing Restatement (Second) of Torts § 766 (1979)).


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