Driving Through the Dense Fog: Analysis of and Proposed Changes to Ohio Tortious Interference Law
59 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2011 Last revised: 19 Feb 2011
Date Written: January 5, 2007
This Article summarizes and analyzes each element of a claim for tortious interference with a contract or a business relationship under Ohio law. It argues that certain conduct should constitute tortious interference and that other conduct should not. Although my Article focuses on Ohio law, it has a national application. The Article argues that the law of tortious interference should be developed to further competition, to protect the contractual rights of parties, and to encourage freedom of action for the alleged interferer.
This Article (1) discusses when businesses and competitors may lawfully interfere with the contracts or business relationships of others, an issue that arises frequently in the business world; (2) analyzes the flaws in Ohio's ill-defined tortious interference law; and (3) argues that Ohio courts should adopt four new standards, which are based on the law of jurisdictions outside of Ohio and public policies. To guide readers through the Article, the Article discusses a hypothetical situation where a client (a manufacturer of alarm clocks, Sleepy, Inc.) seeks legal advice regarding the viability of its tortious interference claims against Sleepy's competitor (Wake-Up Later, Inc.) and former salesperson (Traitor Tom).
Only two articles have addressed the law of tortious interference in Ohio, but those articles are from 1993 and 1996. Those articles, in substantial part, are now outdated based on more recent cases.
Keywords: tortious interference, competition, tortuous interference, interferer, Ohio
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