The Guide is an invaluable online tool for litigation and transactional attorneys. The Guide provides for more than 70 common law causes of action:

- Each action’s elements;
- The most recent state and federal cases that cite the actions’ elements;
- The applicable statute of limitations for each action; and
- Defenses to each cause of action.
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Interference with Existing Contract - Negligent

1 Elements and Case Citations (see Caution, below)

The tort of negligent interference with prospective economic advantage is established where a plaintiff demonstrates that

(1) an economic relationship existed between the plaintiff and a third party which contained a reasonably probable future economic benefit or advantage to plaintiff;
(2) the defendant knew of the existence of the relationship and was aware or should have been aware that if it did not act with due care its actions would interfere with this relationship and cause plaintiff to lose in whole or in part the probable future economic benefit or advantage of the relationship;
(3) the defendant was negligent; and
(4) such negligence caused damage to plaintiff in that the relationship was actually interfered with or disrupted and plaintiff lost in whole or in part the economic benefits or advantage reasonably expected from the relationship.

North American Chemical Co. v. Superior Court, 59 Cal. App. 4th 764, 786 (1997).

CAUTIONBut see Davis v. Nadrich, 174 Cal. App. 4th 1, 9 (2009) (“In California there is no cause of action for negligent interference with contractual relations”) (citing Fifield Manor v. Finston, 54 Cal. 2d 632 (1960); compare LiMandri v. Judkins, 52 Cal. App. 4th 326, 349 (1997) (observing that “although the continuing validity of the so-called "Fifel rule" is questionable [in light of the Supreme Court’s recognition of negligent interference with prospective business advantage], the Supreme Court has yet to disapprove Fifel.); see also Express Diagnostics Int'l, Inc. v. Tydings, No. C 06-01346 JW, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5754, at *21 n.14 (N.D. Cal. 2009) (noting “that there is a healthy debate as to whether California recognizes a cause of action for negligent interference with contractual relations.”).

CALIFORNIA STATE COURTS

Supreme Court of California:  Fifield Manor v. Finston, 54 Cal. 2d 632, 636 (1960) (“courts have quite consistently refused to recognize a cause of action based on negligent, as opposed to intentional, conduct which interferes with the performance of a contract between third parties or renders its performance more expensive or burdensome”).

California 1st District:  Venhaus v. Shultz, 155 Cal. App. 4th 1072, 1078 (2007) (elements of claim); Costello v. Wells Fargo Bank, 258 Cal. App. 2d 90, 95 (1968) (“‘there is no liability for a negligent interference with the performance of contracts between third persons.’”).

California 2d District:  North American Chemical Co. v. Superior Court, 59 Cal. App. 4th 764, 786 (1997) (elements of claim for negligent interference); Davis v. Nadrich, 174 Cal. App. 4th 1, 9 (2009) (claim for negligent interference with contract not viable in California).

California 3d District:  Stromer v. Yuba City, 225 Cal. App. 2d 286, 289 (1964) (no liability for negligent interference with the performance of a contract between third persons).

California 4thDistrict:  LiMandri v. Judkins, 52 Cal. App. 4th 326, 349 (1997) (observing that “although the continuing validity of the so-called "Fifel rule" is questionable [in light of the Supreme Court’s recognition of negligent interference with prospective business advantage], the Supreme Court has yet to disapprove Fifel.).

California 5th District:  None.

California 6th District:  None.

CALIFORNIA FEDERAL COURTS

United States Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit:None.

Central District:  Buraye v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., No. CV 09-8720 GAF (JCx), 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 85280, at *11-12 (C.D. Cal. June 23, 2010) (elements of claim); Folex Golf Indus. v. China Shipbuilding Indus. Corp., No. CV 09-2248-R, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130531, at *19 (C.D. Cal. Dec. 2, 2010) (no cause of action in California), rev’d on other grounds, 479 Fed. Appx. 61 (9th Cir. 2012).

Eastern District:  Compare Sacramento E.D.M., Inc. v. Hynes Aviation Indus., No. 2:13-cv-00288-MCE-KJN, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115791, at *19 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 15, 2013) (elements of claim) with Jacques v. Bank of Am. Corp., No. 1:12-cv-00821-SAB, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87710, at *17 (E.D. Cal. June 21, 2013) (no such claim in California).

Northern District:  Duste v. Chevron Prods. Co., 738 F. Supp. 2d 1027, 1038 (N.D. Cal. 2010) (no cause of action in California).

Southern District:  O’M & Assocs., LLC v. Ozanne, No. 10cv2130 AJB (RBB), 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 107677, at *14 n.9 (S.D. Cal. Sept. 21, 2011) (elements of claim).

2 Issues and Defenses to Claim for Negligent Interference with Existing Contract

(1)   Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 431.30(b)(2) (pleading affirmative defenses), and other standard defenses.  See Chapter 1 for all defenses.

(2)   Statute of Limitations: Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 335.1 (two years).

(3)   Party to Contract:  “A party to a contract cannot be liable for intentional or negligent interference with the contract.”  Mintz v. Blue Cross of California, 172 Cal. App. 4th 1594, 1607 n.5 (2009).

(4) See Chapter 48, defenses to Negligence.