Jeffrey R. Schmieler, Esquire
A claim for tortious interference with economic relations requires proof of four elements, which are: ‘(1) intentional and wilful acts; (2) calculated to cause damage to the plaintiffs in their lawful business; (3) done with the unlawful purpose to cause such damage and loss, without right or justifiable cause on the part of the defendants (which constitutes malice); and (4) actual damage and loss resulting.’ Alexander v. Evander, 336 Md. 635, 652 (1994) (quoting Willner v. Silverman, 109 Md. 341, 355 (1909)). Maryland courts have emphasized that a plaintiff must prove both a tortious intent and that the alleged interference “was accomplished through improper means.” Lyon v. Campbell, 120 Md. App. 412, 431 (1998) (citing inter alia, Macklin v. Robert Logan Assocs., 334 Md. 287, 301 (1994)).
In Alexander, 336 Md. at 657, the Court said: [W]rongful or malicious interference with economic relations is interference by conduct that is independently wrongful or unlawful, quite apart from its effect on the plaintiff’s business relationships. Wrongful or unlawful acts include common law torts and “‘violence or intimidation, defamation, injurious falsehood or other fraud, violation of criminal law, and the institution or threat of groundless civil suits or criminal prosecutions in bad faith.’” K & K Management v. Lee,  316 Md. [137, 166 (1989)], quoting Prosser, Law of Torts, § 130, 952-953 (4th ed. 1971). In addition, “actual malice,” in the sense of ill will, hatred or spite, may be sufficient to make an act of interference wrongful where the defendant’s malice is the primary factor that motivates the interference. (Some citations omitted.)