Causes of Action: Tortious Interference with Employment Contract

From Harstad v. Whiteman, COA, Published 3/4/2011:

Agents of a party to a contract who act within the scope of their employment
cannot interfere with that party’s contract. See Carmichael-Lynch-Nolan Advertising Agency, Inc. v. Bennett & Associates, Inc., 561 S.W.2d 99, 102 (Ky. 19 App. 1977) (adopting Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 766 (1939)), requiring the tortfeasor to be a third party, not a party to the contract or such party’s agent); see also Leary v. Daescher, 186 F. Supp. 2d 774, 777 (W.D. Ky. 2001) (“no allegation of interference with a third-party contract or relationship”). It was undisputed that Whiteman, Thacker, and Lowe were employees of the college and acted as its agents; they were not third parties. The appellees’ statements were made within the scope of investigating a faculty member’s violation of the employer’s rules and, therefore, are within the scope of their employment. Also, as previously discussed, Harstad failed to establish any evidence of malice or improper purpose, which is also a necessary element of the claim. See NCAA By and Through Bellarmine College v. Hornung, 754 S.W.2d 855, 859 (Ky. 1988). Therefore, the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment on the issue of tortious interference is affirmed.


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