Jeffrey R. Schmieler, Esquire
To prove that a defendant has tortiously interfered with a contract, the plaintiff must prove six elements: (1) The existence of a contract or a legally protected interest between the plaintiff and a third party; (2) the defendant’s knowledge of the contract; (3) the defendant’s intentional inducement of the third party to breach or otherwise render impossible the performance of the contract; (4) without justification on the part of the defendant; (5) the subsequent breach by the third party; and (6) damages to the plaintiff resulting therefrom. Brass Metal Products, Inc. v. E-J Enterprises, Inc., 189 Md. App. 310, 348 (2009) (and cases cited therein).
In Rite Aid Corp. et al. v. Lake Shore Investors, 298 Md. 611, 621 (1984), the Court of Appeals expressly adopted Restatement (Second) of Torts § 774A. The Rite Aid Court said, Section 774A reduces Prosser’s view to specifics. It provides: “(1) One who is liable to another for interference with a contract or prospective contractual relation is liable for damages for (a) the pecuniary loss of the benefits of the contract or the prospective relation; (b) consequential losses for which the interference is a legal cause; and (c) emotional distress or actual harm to reputation, if they are reasonably to be expected to result from the interference. (2) In an action for interference with a contract by inducing or causing a third person to break the contract with the other, the fact that the third person is liable for the breach does not affect the amount of damages awardable against the actor; but any damages in fact paid by the third person will reduce the damages actually recoverable on the judgment.” Comment a points out that “[T]his Section states only the rules applicable to the recovery of compensatory damages. Since the tort is an intentional one, punitive damages are recovered in these actions under appropriate circumstances.” Id. at 620 (footnote omitted).