This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
In contracts other than those of employment we find a divergence even greater than in that class of cases. Some authorities hold that interference with any contract amounts to a tort.1 This principle has been applied to contracts of sale,2 whether the vendor,3 or the vendee,4 is induced to break the contract; to contracts to manufacture an article to order,5 and to contracts with a carrier of freight,6 or passengers.7 In other jurisdictions liability in tort for inducing a breach of contract is held not to exist in contracts outside of contracts of employment.8 Thus A leased rooms in a hotel to B. X induced A to break his contract and eject B. It was held that B had no induced the employer first to limit plaintiff's territory and finally to dismiss him, had been in the same business, and had sold out his business to plaintiff, with an agreement not to compete.) right of action against X.9 So A agreed to sell tobacco to B. X induced A to sell this tobacco to X, knowing of A's contract with B. It was held that B could not recover from X.10 So A owed an account to B, an undertaker. All the undertakers in the city had agreed to serve no one who owed a bill to any member of their organization. A needed the services of an undertaker and applied to B, who refused him. He then applied to the other members of the association, each of whom refused him. It was held that A had no right of action against B.11 A and B were engaged to be married. A's father X advised A to break the engagement and finally induced A to do so. It was held that B had no right of action against X for interference with contract; her only remedy being an action for slander if X had been guilty of that tort.12 In some of the cases in which this doctrine has been announced, it may be doubted if the party whose liability in tort is sought to be enforced had committed any wrongful act. A had employed B for an indefinite term. X was A's foreman and had authority to discharge B. X quarreled with B; and instead of discharging B himself X appealed to A, and notified him that if he did not. discharge B, X would not work for A longer. A discharged B. It was held that B had no right of action against X.13 Thus A had a contract with a railroad company B to haul sand and gravel which A was digging on land claimed by him, and was selling and shipping away. X claimed the same realty and notified B that he would hold him liable if he hauled such sand and gravel away. B broke his contract with A and refused to haul such sand and gravel. It was held that A had no right of action against X.14 In this case the court observed that the defendant corporation " had the undoubted legal right to protect its property interests in that manner," but at the same time the court further said that the doctrine of Lumley v. Gye was limited to interference between master and servant.
6 Chipley v. Atkinson, 23 Fla. 206; 11 Am. St. Rep. 367; 1 So. 934.
7 Walker v. Cronin, 107 Mass. 555.
8 Bourlier v. Macauley, 91 Ky. 135; 34 Am. St. Rep. 171; 11 L. R. A. 550; 15 S. W. 60.
9 Bourlier v. Macauley, 91 Ky. 135; 34 Am. St. Rep. 171; 11 L. R. A. 550; 15 S. W. 60. (Inducing Mary Anderson to break her contract to appear at plaintiff's theatre.)
1 " The same reasons cover every case where one person maliciously persuades another to break any contract with a third person. It is not confined to contracts for service." Jones v. Stanly, 76 N. C. 355, 356; quoted in Angle v. Ry., 151 U. S. 1, 15.
2 Jackson v. Stanfield, 137 Ind. 592; 23 L. R. A. 588; 36 N. E. 345; 37 N. E. 14
3 Green v. Button, 2 Cromp. M. & R. 707; Rice v. Manley, 66 N. Y. 82; 23 Am. Rep. 30.
4 Morgan v. Andrews, 107 Mich. 33; 64 N. W. 869.
5 Morgan v. Andrews, 107 Mich. 33; 64 N. W. 869.
6 Jones v. Stanly, 76 N. C. 355.
7 Nashville, etc., Ry. v. McCon-nell, 82 Fed. 65.
8Boyson v. Thorn, 98 Cal. 578; 21 L. R. A. 233; 33 Pac. 492; Chambers v. Baldwin. 91 Ky. 121; 34 Am. St. Rep. 165; 11 L. R. A. 545; 15 S. W. 57.
9 Boyson v. Thorn, 98 Cal. 578; 21 L. R. A. 233; 33 Pac. 492.
10 Chambers v. Baldwin, 91 Ky. 121; 34 Am. St. Rep. 165; 11 L. R. A. 545; 15 S. W. 57.
11 Brewster v. Miller, 101 Ky. 368; 38 L. R. A. 505; 41 S. W. 301.
12 Leonard v. Whetstone, - Ind. App. - ; 68 N. E. 197. For an action of slander in a somewhat similar ease under a contract to bequeath property, see May v. Wood, 172 Mass. 11; 51 N. E. 191.
13 Raycroft v. Tayntor, 68 Vt. 219; 54 Am. St. Rep. 882; 33 L. R. A. 225; 35 Atl. 53.
14 Glencoe, etc., Co. v. Commission Co.. 138 Mo. 439; 60 Am. St. Rep. 560; 36 L. R. A. 804; 40 S. W. 93.