If you’ve ever done business or commercial litigation, you’ve done tortious interference with contractual / business relations. It’s alleged virtually every time a party switches suppliers or customers, and virtually every time the lawsuit involves more than two parties.

But did you know you can claim non-pecuniary damages (so long as you have some economic damages) and get an injunction  before the damage occurs?

From the Eastern District of Pennsylvania:

The damages element of a claim for intentional interference with contractual relations (the fourth element) requires a plaintiff to prove that the alleged interference has caused an actual pecuniary loss, the benefits of which flowed from the contract itself. Although an actual pecuniary loss must be established, non-pecuniary harms are also recoverable under this tort. Shiner v. Moriarty, 706 A.2d 1228, 1239 (Pa.Super. 1998); Perry v. H&R Block Eastern Enterprises, Inc., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22406, 2007 WL 954129, at *10 (E.D.Pa. March 27, 2007)(McLaughlin, J.).

Moreover, the actual pecuniary loss requirement does not defeat actions for tortious interference with contractual relations, such as this one, which seek to enjoin the interfering conduct before it is successful. In Adler, Barish, Daniels, Levin & Creskoff v. Epstein, 482 Pa. 416, 436 n.21, 393 A.2d 1175, 1185 n.21 (1978), the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania specifically held that notwithstanding the actual pecuniary loss requirement, "[i]t  is well settled that equity will act to prevent unjustified interference with contractual relations." See also Restatement (Second) of Torts § 766, comment u.

Similarly, in affirming the issuance of a preliminary injunction in a case based upon tortious interference with contractual relations and trespass claims, the Third Circuit recognized that injunctive relief may be appropriate before an actual pecuniary loss is sustained. In this regard, the Third Circuit held that a preliminary injunction may issue where the claimant has demonstrated that there is a "presently existing actual threat of injury". Ride the Ducks of Philadelphia, LLC v. Duck Boat Tours, Inc., 138 Fed.Appx. 431, 434 (3d Cir. 2005) (citing Continental Group, Inc. v. Amoco Chemicals Corporation, 614 F.2d 351, 359 (3d Cir. 1980)).

Hospitality Assocs. of Lancaster, L.P. v. Lancaster Land Development, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 76772 (September 20, 3008, Gardner, J.).

Shiner v. Moriarty, cited above, quotes Pawlowski v. Smorto, 403 Pa. Super. 71, 588 A.2d 36 (Pa.Super. 1991), for the damage element of the tort involving "the loss of the benefits of the contract or prospective relation or consequential, emotional or reputational losses resulting from the defendant’s conduct."

Did you plead all that last time? If not, perhaps you should consider amending…