Understanding and Avoiding Claims of Intentional Interference with Economic Relationships

Posted by Catherine Chukwueke | Apr 23, 2024

In legal disputes, claims of intentional interference with contract or economic relationships can arise when one party alleges that another party has intentionally disrupted a beneficial relationship, resulting in harm. Let's break down the elements of such a claim using an illustrative example:


In the scenario, John, a seasoned software developer, had been cultivating a promising business relationship with TechCorp, a leading software company. Negotiations between John and TechCorp were progressing positively, with both parties edging closer to finalizing a lucrative contract. However, the situation took an unexpected turn when RivalTech, a fierce competitor of TechCorp, strategically intervened in the relationship.

RivalTech employed various tactics to disrupt the negotiations, including spreading false rumors about John's reliability and questioning the quality of his work. Additionally, RivalTech engaged in aggressive marketing campaigns targeting TechCorp's clientele, aiming to divert their attention away from John's proposal. These calculated actions by RivalTech significantly undermined John's credibility and trustworthiness in TechCorp's eyes, ultimately leading to the breakdown of the contract discussions. As a result, John not only lost the opportunity for the lucrative contract but also suffered substantial financial losses due to RivalTech's interference. 

Elements of the Claim:

Below are the elements of a claim for Intentional Interference with Contractual Relations: 
  1. Existence of contract between the Plaintiff and a third party: John had a valid contract with TechCorp, which was likely to lead to an economic benefit for him.

  2. Defendant knew that Plaintiff had a contract with the third party: RivalTech was aware of the existing contract between John and TechCorp.

  3. Defendant's conduct prevented performance or made performance more difficult or expensive for Plaintiff: RivalTech engaged in wrongful conduct, such as spreading false information about John's abilities or offering incentives to TechCorp to sever ties with him.

  4. Defendant intended to disrupt the performance of the contract between Plaintiff and the third party or Defendant knew that the disruption of performance would occur: RivalTech either intended to disrupt the relationship between John and TechCorp or knew that their actions would likely lead to its disruption.

  5. Actual disruption of the contractual relationship: As a result of RivalTech's actions, the relationship between John and TechCorp was disrupted.

  6. Harm to Plaintiff: John suffered financial harm due to the loss of the contract opportunity with TechCorp.

  7. Defendant's Conduct as a Substantial Factor: RivalTech's wrongful conduct was a significant factor in causing John's financial harm.

How To Avoid Potential Claims of Intentional Interference with Economic Relationships:

  • Refrain from engaging in deceptive or coercive tactics to undermine competitors' relationships.
  • Ensure that all business communications and interactions are conducted ethically and in compliance with legal standards.
  • Implement clear policies and training programs to educate employees on ethical business practices and the importance of respecting contractual relationships.
  • Seek legal advice before taking any actions that could potentially impact the relationships of others in the marketplace.


Claims of intentional interference with economic relationships involve complex legal elements that must be proven to establish liability. By understanding these elements and adopting proactive measures to avoid engaging in wrongful conduct, businesses can mitigate the risk of facing such claims.

At the Law Office of Catherine Chukwueke, we provide legal guidance in matters involving intentional interference with economic relationships and other areas of business law. Contact us today for assistance tailored to your specific needs.

Disclaimer: This article has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. 

About the Author

Catherine Chukwueke

Catherine (“Cathy”) Chukwueke is the Owner and Principal Attorney of the Law Office of Catherine Chukwueke, a law firm focusing on labor and employment matters and workplace investigations. Ms. Chukwueke is passionate about helping people who have been mistreated in the workplace.

Empowering Employers and Protecting Workplaces with Trusted Legal Guidance

Contact Us Today

Contact us today to discuss how we can empower your organization and ensure a protected and compliant workplace.