Slater Numismatics v. Driving Force, 2012 COA103 (June 21, 2012)

Free market competition has its limits; one is the bar on intentional interference with contractual relations.  The line between tough competition and tortious behavior is not bright.  The court of appeals clarified that line, sort of, by holding that an interference claim may lie even in the absence of an actual breach or impossibility of performance of a contract, depending upon the nature of the conduct of the alleged tortfeasor. This case involved the machinations of former employees to take the largest client of their prior employer by hiring away all the other employees.  Relying on the Restatement of Torts, and interpreting a prior Supreme Court case as setting forth only some of the ways in which an interference claim could be proved, the court of appeals concluded that in this case, the plaintiff’s proof sufficiently showed defendant’s wrongful conduct caused interference.

http://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Court_Of_Appeals/Opinion/2012/11CA0683-PD.pdf

http://www.cobar.org/opinions/opinion.cfm?opinionid=8567&courtid=1

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1 Comment

Filed under Contracts, Torts

One response to “Slater Numismatics v. Driving Force, 2012 COA103 (June 21, 2012)

  1. The procedural posture of this case is that the trial court granted summary judgment for defendant and the court of appeals reversed and remanded. The court made it clear in no uncertain terms that it viewed plaintiff’s claims very favorably, though it couched its holding in terms of a jury being able to reasonably find for plaintiff. This case also briefly addressed an unjust enrichment claim, which it also held was a viable claim. The language used by the court could be seen as somewhat expanding the scope of what constitutes a “benefit” that was unjustly retained. It held that the use of confidential information benefited defendant at plaintiff’s expense, and under the circumstances, a jury could find that defendant should compensate plaintiff for that benefit.

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