A defense attorney demurrered my claim of Interference With Economic Advantage because I was in a three party contract with the person I am trying to sue, myself, and the party I had a prospective economic relationship with.
The demurrer states: "the tort for interference with contract or economic relationship does not
lie against a party to the contract." Shoemaker v. Myers (1990) 52 Cal.3d 1, 24. "It is axiomatic,
however, that there can be no action for inducement for breach of contract against the other party
to the contract."
He is connecting it to contract law. Is this correct? The law for Interference With Economic Advantage says nothing about contracts in it.
In California, there are two distinct and different legal causes of action for interference. However, both causes of action are typically alleged in the alternative in the same lawsuit.
The following are the elements of a cause of action for intentional inference with prospective economic advantage:
1) an economic relationship containing the probability of future economic benefit to the plaintiff;
2) knowledge by the defendant of the existence of the relationship;
3) intentional acts on the part of the defendant designed to disrupt the relationship;
4) actual disruption of the relationship; and
5) damages to the plaintiff proximately caused by the acts of the defendant.
(Della Penna v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (1995) 11 Cal. 4th 376, 389.)
The elements for a cause of action for intentional interference with contractual relations are:
1) a valid contract between plaintiff and a third party;
2) defendant's knowledge of this contract;
3) defendant's intentional acts designed to induce a breach or disruption of the contractual relationship;
4) actual breach or disruption of the contractual relationship; and
5) resulting damage."
(Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. Bear Stearns & Co. (1990) 50 Cal.3d 1118, 1126.)
Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended nor should be construed as legal advice for any particular case or client. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney. This posting is not intended to constitute an advertisement nor a solicitation. Due to the high volume of phone calls and e-mails, not all phone calls or e-mails can be returned.
The post is not clear and without enough facts to really understand what is going on. That said, what the demurrer is arguing (it seems) is that you cannot sue a party to the contract for interfering with its own contract. Rather, the interference claim must be directed to someone who is not a party- someone outside of the contract. The defendant may have a good chance of having its demurrer sustained as to the interference claim; but your breach of contract should survive.
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