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.
If the contract is one of employment, but not as servant in the strict sense of the term, we find a divergence of authority corresponding to that in Lumley v. Gye. The weight of modern authority is that one who induces another to break such a contract is liable to the party injured thereby.1 In some jurisdictions interference with certain contracts,2 such as contracts of employment,3 has been made a crime. The employer's right of action to recover for wrongful interference with a contract of employment, does not, however, depend upon statute.4
See, Allen v. Flood, by Frederick Pollock, 14 Law Quarterly Review, 129; The Authority of Allen v. Flood, by H. L. Wilgus, 1 Michigan Law Review, 28, and Allen v. Flood: In Roman Law, by Walter H. Griffith, 1 Journal of Comparative Legislation (N.S.), 309.
4Quinn v. Leathern , App. Cas. 495 [affirming, Leathern v. Craig, 2 Ir. Rep. (1899), 667].
1 Bixby v. Dunlap, 56 N. H. 456, 22 Am. Rep. 475.
1 England. Bowen v. Hall, 6 Q. B. D. 333; Read v. Friendly Society of Operative Stonemasons , 2 K. B. 732; Giblan v. National Amalgamated Labourers' Union , 2 K. B. 600; South Wales Miners' Federation v. Glamorgan Coal Co. , A. C. 239.
United States. Hitchman Coal & Coke Co. v. Mitchell, 245 U. S. 229, 62 L. ed. 260, L. R. A. 1918C, 497.
Arkansas. Johns v. Patterson, - Ark. - , 211 S. W. 387.
Massachusetts. McGurk v. Cronen-wett, 199 Mass. 457, 19 L. R. A. (N.S.) 661, 85 N. E. 576; Lopes v. Connolly, 210 Mass. 487, 38 L. R. A. (N.S.) 986, 97 N. E. 80; Kennedy v. Hub Manufacturing Co., 221 Mass. 136, 108 N. E. 932; Doucette v. Sallinger, 228 Mass. 444, 117 X. E. 897.
Minnesota. Faunce v. Searles, 122 Minn. 343, 142 N. W. 816.
New Jersey. Max v. Kahn, - N. J. - , 102 Atl. 737.
New York. S. C. Posner Co. v. Jackson, 223 N. Y. 325, 119 N. E. 573.
South Carolina. Oxner v. Seaboard Air Line Ry. Co., - S. Car. - , 96 S. E. 559.
Vermont. Hooker, Corser & Mitchell Co. v. Hooker, 88 Vt. 335, 92 Atl. 443; Hooker, Corser & Mitchell Co. v. Hooker, 89 Vt. 383, 95 Atl. 649.
West Virginia. Thacker Coal & Coke Co. v. Burke, 59 W. Va. 253, 5 L. R. A. (N.S.) 1091, 53 S. E. 161.
For relief against directors of a corporation for enticing away the employes of the corporation, see Hooker, Corser & Mitchell Co. v. Hooker, 88 Vt. 335, 92 Atl. 443; Hooker, Corser & Mitchell Co. v. Hooker, 89 Vt. 383, 95 Atl. 649.
For the measure of damages in such cases, see Hooker, Corser & Mitchell Co. v. Hooker, 89 Vt. 383, 95 Atl. 649.
This principle has been applied to contracts to sing in a theater;5 to serve as laborer, or cropper,6 or farm laborer;7 to live with and care for a person in consideration of a certain weekly payment and a specified legacy;8 to act as exclusive agent for a hotel;9 to act as a salesman;10 to act as selling agent on commission,11 or as general superintendent of a manufacturing company;12 to work as mechanic in some manufacturing or mechanical business,13 or to serve as superintendent of schools.14 If A has employed B and others under a contract by which they have agreed not to join a labor union, and X attempts to induce them to break such provision of their contract, and to join a labor union, A is entitled to relief against X.15 If A is a corporation which is formed for the purpose of capitalizing the name and the reputation of B, who is an expert designer, and if A has made a contract with B, extending over a number of years, X is liable to A for inducing B to break her contract with A in order to injure A.16 An officer of a corporation who has wrongfully induced such corporation to break its contract with one of its employes, and discharge him, is liable for damages.17
2 Johns v. Patterson, - Ark. --, 211 S. W. 387; State v. Hurdle, 113 Mian. 736, 74 So. 681.
3 Johns v. Patterson, - Ark. - , 211 S. W. 387; State v. Hurdle, 113 Miss. 736. 74 So. 681.
Such a statute (Arkansas, Acts 1905, p. 725), is not invalid as a violation of the Federal Peonage Act (Act of March 2, 1867, c. 187; 14 Stats, at L. 546, c. 187). Johns v. Patterson,
4S. C. Posner Co. v. .Jackson. 223 N. Y. 325. 119 N. E. 573.
5Lnmfey v. Gye. 2 El. Bl. 216, 75 E. C. L. 216.
6 Haskins v. Royster. 70 N. Car. 601, 16 Am. Rep. 780.
7Oxner v. Seaboard Air Lino Ry. Co..
- S. Car. - . 06 S. E. 559.
8 May v. Wood, 172 Mass. 11, 51 N. E. 101. (Breach was induced by statements to the employer that the person performing the services was a dangerous person. The decision really was on a question of pleading, the majority of the court holding that the complaint was defective as not showing the statements substantially, while the minority held that the complaint was sufficient.)
9 Beekman v. Marsters. 195 Mass. 205, 122 Am. St. Rep. 232. 11 L. R. A. (N.S.) 201, 80 N. E. 817.
10 Hooker. Corser & Mitchell Co. v. Hooker, 88 Vt. 335, 92 Atl. 443; Hooker, Corser & Mitchell Co. v. Hooker, 89 Vt. 383, 95 Atl. 049.
11 Raymond v. Yarrington, 96 Tex. 443. 62 L. R. A. 962, 73 S. W. 800 [reversing (Tex. Civ. App.), 69 S. W. 4361. (The defendant who 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.)
12Chipley v. Atkinson, 23 Fla. 206, 11 Am. St. Rep. 367, 1 So. 934.
13 Walker v. Cronin. 107 Mass. 555.
14Faunce v. Searles, 122 Minn. 343, 142 X. W. 816.
In other cases, however, it has been held that if the contract is for employment, but not as servant, a third party who induces its breach is not liable in tort.18 This principle has been applied to a contract of employment as an actress.19
15 Hitchman Coal & Coke Co. v. Mitchell, 245 U. S. 229, 62 L. ed. 260, L. R. A. 1918C, 497.
"Another fundamental error in defendants' position consists in the assumption that aft measures thai may be resorted to are lawful if they ore 'peaceable' - that is, if they stop short of physical violence, or coercion through fear of it. In our opinion, any violation of plaintiff's legal rights contrived by defendants for the purpose of inflicting damage, or having that as its necessary effect, is as plainly inhabited by the law as if it involved a breach of the peace. A combination to procure concerted breaches of contract by plaintiff's employes constitutes such a violation. Flaccus v. Smith, 199 Pa. St. 128, 54 L. R. A. 640; South Wales' Miners' Federation v. Glamorgan Coal Co. , A. C. 239, 244. 250, 253; Jonas Glass Co. v. Glass Bottle Blow-Co.  A. C. 239, 244, 250, 253; Hitchman Coal & Coke Co. v. Mitchell, 245 U. S. 229, 62 L. ed. 260. L. R. A. 1918C, 497.
"It was one thing for plaintiff to find. from time to time, comparatively small numbers of men to take vacant places in a going mine. another and a much more difficult thing to find a complete gang of new men to start up a mine shut down by a strike, when there might be a reasonable apprehension of violence at the hands of the strikers and their sympathizers. The disordered condition of a mining town in time of strike is matter of common knowledge. It was this kind of intimidation. as well as that resulting from the large organised membership of the union, that defendants sought to exert upon plaintiff, and it renders pertinent what was said by this court in the Gompers Case (221 U. S. 418, 439), immediately following the recognition of the right to form labor unions: 'But the very fact that it is lawful to form these bodies, with multitudes of members. means that they have thereby acquired A fast power. in the presence of which the individual may be helpless. This power, when unlawfully used against one, can not be met. except by his purchasing peace at the cost of submitting to terms which involve the sacrifice of rights protected by the Constitution; or by standing on such rights and appealing to the preventive powers of a court of equity. When such appeal is made it is the duty of the government to protect the one against the many as well as the many against the one.'" Hitchman Coal & Coke Co. v. Mitchell, 245 IT. S. 229, 62 L. ed. 260, L. R. A. 1918C. 497.
16S. C. Posner Co. v. Jackson. 223 N. Y. 325, 119 N. E. 573.
17McGurk v. Cronenwett. 199 Mass. 457. 19 L. R. A. (N.S.) 561, 85 N. E. 576.