The Third Department, in finding the causes of action should have been dismissed, explained the “but for” element of tortious interference with contractual relations and prospective business relationships. The complaint alleged that defendants made disparaging and false remarks about the plaintiff which caused plaintiff to lose a consulting contract. However the evidence demonstrated the contract was cancelled for financial reasons. Therefore the “but for” element was not present:
Causation is an essential element of a claim for tortious interference with contractual relations. Such a cause of action requires proof that, “but for” the defendants’ conduct, the plaintiff would not have breached its contract with a third party … .
In opposition to defendants’ motion for summary judgment, plaintiffs submitted a letter not previously disclosed during discovery … . * * * This letter established that, regardless of whether defendants acted in such a manner as to interfere with the consulting contract, the contract … was terminated for financial reasons … . Thus, it cannot be shown that “but for” defendants’ alleged interference, plaintiffs’ contractual relationship … would have continued … . Ullmanglass v Oneida Ltd, 2014 NY Slip Op 07234, 3rd Dept 10-23-14