Pittsburgh Legal Back Talk

Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Don’t fall into the trap of interfering with a contract.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | August 31, 2015


ADLER,BARISH,DANIELS, LEVIN & CRESKOFF v. ALLEN EPSTEIN et al., 428 Pa. 416, 393 A.2d 1175 (1978)


Section 766 of the Restatement of Torts sets forth the elements of this cause of action:

Intentional Interference with Performance of Contract by Third Person

One who intentionally and improperly interferes with the performance of a contract (except a contract to marry) between another and a third person by inducing or otherwise causing the third person not to perform the contract, is subject to liability to the other for the pecuniary loss resulting to the other from the third person’s failure to perform the contract.”

Interesting. Lawyers sometimes leave a law firm to set up a new practice and invite clients of their old firm to transfer their cases.  Although the client has the right to change lawyers, the lawyer does not have the right to interfere with the contract between the old law firm and its client, even if he represented the client at the old firm. In addition, there are ethical issues to consider. This becomes especially important when there is a contingent fee involved.  The case linked above and the later cases linked to it discuss this issue in greater detail.

Image: cbssports.com

Image: cbssports.com

The event that brought this topic to mind was the outpouring of emotion over the hiring of Mike Vick by the Steelers this weekend.  Even after the contract had been signed, people were threatening various reprisals.  While none of those threats would be serious enough to cause the Steelers to breach their contract with Vick, the principal applies.  If, hypothetically, the Stadium Authority induced the Steelers to breach their contract with Vick by threatening to close Heinz Field, Vick would have a cause of action against both the Steelers and the Authority, who induced the breach of contract.

The moral of this story: “Mind your own business.”




CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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