November 21, 2005
BREACH OF CONTRACT
By: Christopher Reinhart, Senior Attorney
You asked about laws regarding someone who encourages another to breach a contract.
The Office of Legislative Research is not authorized to give legal opinions and this should not be considered one.
The courts recognize a claim for damages when someone induces a breach of contract or interferes with financial expectancies. An improper motive such as fraud or duress is usually required. Most authorities find that mere persuasion or entreaty is not enough (Connecticut Law of Torts, chapter XIX, § 165).
For intentional interference with contractual relations, the plaintiff must have a contract with a third person and the third person must be induced to break the contract with the plaintiff.
Interference with a business relationship requires (1) a business relationship between the plaintiff and another party, (2) the defendant's intentional interference with the business relationship while knowing of the relationship, and (3) actual loss by the plaintiff due to the interference (Hi-Ho Tower, Inc. v. Com-Tronics, Inc., 255 Conn. 20 (2000)). There must be a direct relationship between the defendant's act and the plaintiff's loss and a reasonable expectation of receiving a profit in the prospective transaction. A mere possibility of making a profit is not enough (Connecticut Law of Torts, chapter XIX, § 165).
Interfering with contracts, depending on the circumstances, might also violate the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (CUTPA) (CGS § 42-110a et seq.), although we did not find a specific case on this issue. Attached is OLR Report 2005-R-0261 which summarizes CUTPA's provisions.