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A Better Partnership
January 18, 2013

COA Opinion: Tortious interference with contract requires proof of intent to induce breach of contract

In Knight Enterprises, Inc. v. RPF Oil Co., the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed the trial court's judgment in favor of the plaintiff, because the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the defendant instigated the breach of contract. In this case, the plaintiff supplied gasoline to a gas station under a 10-year fuel supply agreement. The gas station owner breached the contract with the plaintiff and entered into a new contract with the defendant. But the undisputed testimony demonstrated that the gas station owner had told the defendant that he was not under any contract to purchase gasoline when he entered into the contract. Further, the gas station owner solicited bids for the new supply contract; the defendant did not initiate the contact. Therefore, the plaintiff's claim failed as a matter of law, as there was no evidence that the defendant induced the breach of contract.

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