Delaware Court Authorizes New Theory of Tortious Interference with Contract


Deciding an issue of first impression, the Superior Court of Delaware recently authorized the assertion of claims based on a new theory of tortious interference with contract, but ruled that the plaintiff failed to state a claim under that theory. Allen Family Foods, Inc. operates a poultry processing facility and had contracted with Capital Carbonic Corporation to supply dry ice for the facility. In September 2010, Allen, believing that its contract with Carbonic had been terminated by its terms, entered into a contract with Praxair Distribution, Inc. to supply dry ice. Thereafter, Carbonic sent a letter to Praxair threatening litigation, after which Allen ceased performance of its contract with Praxair and, instead, continued to purchase dry ice pursuant to its previous agreement with Carbonic.

Allen then sued Carbonic, alleging that Carbonic tortiously interfered with its agreement with Praxair. Traditionally, to assert a tortious interference with contract claim, the plaintiff must allege that the defendant's conduct "induce[d] a third party to terminate a contract with the plaintiff unlawfully." Under the Restatement (Second) of Torts, there is an additional basis for a tortious interference claim where, rather than induce a third party to breach a contract, the alleged wrongdoer "intentionally and improperly interferes with the performance of a contract... between [the plaintiff] and a third person, by preventing the [plaintiff] from performing the contract or causing his performance to be more expensive or burdensome."

Please see full article below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:


Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:

Sign up to create your digest using LinkedIn*

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.

Already signed up? Log in here

*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.