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Eastern District of Pennsylvania Rules Against Plaintiff’s Tortious Interference in Prospective Contractual Relation Claim

In UniStrip Technologies, LLC v. LifeScan, Inc. and LifeScan Scotland, Ltd. the Eastern District of Pennsylvania determined that Plaintiff had not met its burden of proof for its claim of tortious interference with prospective contractual relation. 153 F.Supp.3d 728 (E.D. Pa. 2015). The necessary elements of a cause of action for tortious interference with prospective contractual relations are as follows: (1) The existence of a prospective between the complainant and a third party; (2) purposeful action on the part of the defendant to harm the existing relation, or to prevent a prospective relation from occurring; (3) the absence of privilege or justification on the part of the defendant; and (4) the occasioning of actual damage as a result of defendant’s conduct.

The Court found that UniStrip failed to establish the first prong of this four-factor test. The first requirement of there being a prospective contractual relationship can be satisfied by demonstration of “something more than mere hope” that a contract will be formed. UniStrip was unable to convince the Court that there was a reasonable probability that a contract would arise.  UniStrip’s claim rested on the argument that it would have engaged in contractual relations with numerous buyers but for LifeScan’s contracts with them threatening to revoke rebates and discounts if they purchased UniStrip products. UniStrip argued that LifeScan’s conduct was without any business justification and caused significant financial harm by discouraging potential buyers from doing business with UniStrip. The Court held that UniStrip could not identify a “specific business relationships suffering as a result of defendant’s interference” and thus dismissed UniStrip’s claim.

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