Intentional Interference With Prospective Economic Advantage

"Legal Lexicon":
Nature of the Tort of Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage
The elements of that tort of are: '(1) an economic relationship between 【the plaintiff and some third person】 containing the probability of future economic benefit to the 【plaintiff】, (2) knowledge by the defendant of the existence of the relationship, (3) intentional acts on the part of the defendant designed to disrupt the relationship, (4) actual disruption of the relationship, 【and】 (5) damages to the plaintiff proximately caused by the acts of the defendant.' (Buckaloo v. Johnson (1975) 14 Cal.3d 815, 827.)
It seems clear that this tort is the broader of the two so-called interference torts. The other is interference with contract. The tort of 'interference with contractual relations has its roots in the tort of 'inducing breach of contract.'' (Seaman's Direct Buying Service Inc. v. Standard Oil Co. (1984) 36 Cal.3d 752, 765.) The latter is merely a species of the former. The principal difference between them is that 'the existence of a legally binding agreement is not a sine qua non to the maintenance of a suit based on the more inclusive wrong.' (Buckaloo, supra, at 823.) 'Both the tort of interference with contract relations and the tort of interference with prospective contract or business relations involve basically the same conduct on the part of the tortfeasor. In one case the interference takes place when a contract is already in existence, in the other, when a contract would, with certainty, have been consummated but for the conduct of the tortfeasor. . . . Rather than characterizing the two as separate torts, the more rational approach seems to be that the basic tort of interference with economic relations can be established by showing, inter alia, an interference with an existing contract or a contract which is certain to be consummated, with broader grounds for justification of the interference where the latter situation is presented.' (Builders Corporation of America v. U.S. (N.D.Cal.'57) 148 F.Supp. 482, 484, fn. 1, revd. on other grounds (9th Cir.'58) 259 F.2d 766, see also Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. Bear Stearns & Co.(1990) 50 Cal.3d 1118, 1126.)
In either case, '【A】s Justice Tobriner said in the context of voidable contracts: 'The actionable wrong lies in the inducement to break the contract or to sever the relationship, not in the kind of contract or relationship so disrupted, whether it is written or oral, enforceable or not enforceable.' ' (Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. Bear Stearns & Co., supra, 50 Cal.3d at 1127.) However, it must be remembered that these torts are intentional torts.
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English-Chinese law dictionary (法律英汉双解大词典). 2013.

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