Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

Tortious interference contract dispute in Manhattan court

There are a number of different legal responses, options and protections that may be available when a contract has been breached or interfered with. A dispute between a publicist and the producers of a Broadway musical was recently in a Manhattan court. The publicist, who had been hired to help promote the Broadway musical, sent emails under a fake name to a potential investor and the investor's lawyers warning that the producers of the show had been tricked into a fraud scheme. Because of the emails, the investor changed his mind and reversed his decision to provide $2.5 million for the musical.

The producers brought a lawsuit against the publicist for breach of contract, defamation and tortious interference. A judge recently ruled that the publicist had breached the contract and the defamation and tortious contract claims will go to trial. Tortious interference with a contract describes circumstances when a party interferes with a contractual relationship. The interfering party may be liable for civil damages if it is found to have interfered in an contractual relationship between the party bringing the claim and a third party.

The party bringing a claim for tortious interference with contract relations must prove several elements, including that a valid contract existed; that the party accused of interfering with the contract had knowledge of the contract and contractual relationship; that the party alleged to have interfered with the contract acted intentionally and improperly; and that the party bringing the claim was injured by the interfering party's actions.

Contracts are important to our everyday lives in a number of ways and govern a variety of business relationships and transactions. Because of the important role contracts play in life and business, it is helpful to understand how to respond if a contract is breached or a contractual relationship is interfered with.

Source: ArtsBeat, "'Rebecca' Publicist Loses Round in Lawsuit Over Show's Travails," Lorne Manly, May 12, 2015

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