Virginia Tortious Interference Law More Permissive than Georgia

In Virginia, to state a claim for tortious interference with contractual relationships, a plaintiff generally must allege (1) the existence of a valid contractual relationship or business expectancy; (2) knowledge of the relationship or expectancy on the part of the interferor; (3) intentional interference inducing or causing a breach or termination of the relationship or expectancy; and (4) resultant damage to the party whose relationship or expectancy has been disrupted. A person must be a stranger to a contract to tortiously interfere with it; one cannot interfere with his own contract. Some states take this "stranger" requirement further, holding that a plaintiff can sue a defendant for tortious interference only if the defendant is a stranger to both the contract and the underlying business relationship giving rise to the contract.

In those states adhering to the so-called Stranger Doctrine, third-party beneficiaries are not considered strangers to the contract even though they are not parties to it. If a defendant has a legitimate interest in either the contract or a party to the contract, the defendant is not considered a stranger. In Georgia, for example, there can be no tortious interference claim where the plaintiff and defendant were parties to "a comprehensive interwoven set of contracts." A recent unpublished opinion from the 11th Circuit shows how restrictive this rule can be.

Read the rest of the article at the Virginia Business Litigation Lawyer blog

For more information about LexisNexis products and solutions connect with us through our corporate site.