Legal Memorandum: Tortious Interference with Contract

Issue: Under the law of the Virgin Islands, what are the elements of tortious interference with contract?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts
Keywords: Tortious interference with contract; Elements; Performance of a contract
Jurisdiction: Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 955 F. Supp. 441
Cited Statutes: The Restatement (Second) of Torts § 766, 767
Date: 04/01/2015

The Restatement (Second) of Torts § 766 prohibits intentional*FN1 interference with the performance of a contract:

One who intentionally and improperly interferes with the performance of a contract (except a contract to marry) between another and a third person by inducing or otherwise causing the third person not to perform the contract, is subject to liability to the other for the pecuniary loss resulting to the other from the failure of the third person to perform the contract.

Sorber v. Glacial Energy VI, LLC, 2013 V.I. LEXIS 12, 19-20 (V.I. Super. Ct. Mar. 7, 2013) (Caroll, J.) (quoting Restatement (Second) of Torts § 766).  The superior court has laid out five elements to examine the tortious interference: (1) the plaintiff must show a contract between the plaintiff and a third-party; (2) the defendant knew of the contract; (3) the third-party failed to perform and the defendant’s actions proximately caused the third party’s failure to perform; (4) the defendant acted intentionally and improperly; and (5) the plaintiff suffered actual damage.*FN2  First Am. Dev. Group/Carib, LLC v. WestLB AG, 55 V.I. 316, 333 (V.I. Super. Ct. 2011) (citing Gov’t Guar. Fund of Rep. of Finland v. Hyatt Corp, 955 F. Supp. 441, 452, 35 V.I. 356 (D.V.I. 1997)). 

With respect to the second factor, the actor need not appreciate the legal significance of the facts giving rise to a contractual duty, but in at […]

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