Herman v. Endriss

Decision Date15 June 1982
Citation446 A.2d 9,187 Conn. 374
CourtConnecticut Supreme Court
PartiesJuliana HERMAN v. Ferdinand ENDRISS.

Louis M. Winer, New Haven, for appellant (plaintiff).

Carter LaPrade, New Haven, for appellee (defendant).

Before SPEZIALE, C. J., and PETERS, HEALEY, ARMENTANO and SHEA, JJ.

SPEZIALE, Chief Justice.

In this action, the plaintiff alleges that the defendant tortiously interfered with an employment contract between the plaintiff and her employer. The plaintiff has appealed from the summary judgment rendered for the defendant, claiming that the trial court erred in concluding that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact.

The plaintiff in her complaint alleges that she had been employed since March 1976 by David W. Mabee as a housekeeper and that she also provided various personal services and personal care for Mabee. She further alleges that the defendant, who was a long-time friend of the elderly Mabee, interfered with this employment contract by trying to dismiss the plaintiff on the purported authority of Mabee's power of attorney which was held by the defendant. She also alleges that the attempted dismissal was contrary to the express wishes of Mabee and that the power of attorney held by the defendant was invalid. The plaintiff claims, inter alia, both injunctive relief and damages.

After her complaint was filed, the plaintiff sought and obtained a temporary restraining order. An agreement between the parties continued the plaintiff's employment after the expiration of the temporary restraining order. Subsequently, conservators were appointed for Mabee and the plaintiff's employment apparently continued under their authority.

The plaintiff's employer, David Mabee, died on June 4, 1978. Thereafter, by way of special defense 1 and by a motion for summary judgment, the defendant alleged that the case has become moot because of the death of Mabee. The trial court, in granting the defendant's motion for summary judgment, apparently agreed that the case is moot. 2 In its judgment, the trial court concluded that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact.

The question before us is whether there remains a genuine issue as to any material fact after the death of the plaintiff's employer. We conclude that the case is not moot and that the summary judgment was erroneous because there is a genuine issue as to material facts.

The death of the plaintiff's employer obviously renders moot any claim for additional injunctive relief, but the plaintiff's claim for damages because of the defendant's previous alleged interference is not moot. A plaintiff may recover damages for tortious interference with a contract not only where the contract is thereby not performed; 4 Restatement (Second), Torts § 766; 3 but also where the interference causes the performance "to be more expensive or burdensome ...." Id., § 766A. 4 "[I]t is not essential to the cause of action that the tort has resulted in an actual breach of contract." Harry A. Finman & Sons, Inc. v. Connecticut Truck & Trailer Service Co., 169 Conn. 407, 415, 363 A.2d 86 (1975); see Goldman v. Feinberg, 130 Conn. 671, 674, 37 A.2d 355 (1944); Skene v. Carayanis, 103 Conn. 708, 714, 131 A. 497 (1926). A plaintiff states an actionable cause by alleging that the defendant intentionally interfered with a business or contractual relationship of the plaintiff and that the plaintiff, as a result, has suffered an actual loss. Harry A. Finman & Sons, Inc. v. Connecticut Truck & Trailer Service Co., supra.

In her complaint, the plaintiff alleges that "[a]t diverse times during the course of the plaintiff's employment, the defendant interfered with the plaintiff's contractual relations with David W. Mabee, and with the plaintiff's ability to carry out her responsibilities under said contract of employment." That allegation, together with the claim for damages, is sufficient to state a cause of action for damages resulting from the defendant's alleged interference with the contract, which action is in no way affected by Mabee's subsequent death. The specifics of the damages which the defendant A motion for summary judgment may be granted only when there is no genuine issue as to material facts. Practice Book § 384. 8 Because the plaintiff's claim for damages has not been mooted by the death of Mabee, there are material facts which are in genuine dispute. The summary judgment, therefore, was erroneous.

                is [187 Conn. 378] claiming are given in the plaintiff's reply 5 to the [187 Conn. 379] defendant's special defense, 6 which is a part of the pleadings.   These damages are also described in the plaintiff's affidavit submitted in opposition to the motion for summary judgment.   See 4 Restatement (Second), Torts § 774A. 7
                

There is error, the judgment is set aside and the case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings.

In this opinion the other Judges concurred.

---------------

1 The defendant's "Special Defense" provided:

"1. David Mabee died June 4, 1978.

2. Plaintiff remained employed in the Mabee household, in accordance with a court order stipulated on June 23, 1977, until after Mr. Mabee's death.

3. The case is now moot.

Defendant,

By Carter LaPrade

Thompson, Weir & Barclay"

2 We note that the trial court failed to articulate the basis of its decision as required by Practice Book § 3060B.

3 4 Restatement (Second), Torts § 766: "INTENTIONAL INTERFERENCE WITH PERFORMANCE OF CONTRACT BY THIRD PERSON. One who intentionally and improperly interferes with the performance of a contract (except a contract to marry) between another and a third person by inducing or otherwise causing the third person not to perform the contract, is subject to liability to the other for the pecuniary loss resulting to the other from the failure of the third person to perform the contract."

4 4 Restatement (Second), Torts § 766A: "INTENTIONAL INTERFERENCE WITH ANOTHER'S PERFORMANCE OF HIS OWN CONTRACT. One who intentionally and improperly interferes with the performance of a contract (except a contract to marry) between another and a third person, by preventing the...

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    ...137 S.E.2d 528, 531 [defendant liable for destroying work plaintiff is under contract with third party to complete]; Herman v. Endriss (1982) 187 Conn. 374, 446 A.2d 9 [defendant interfered with plaintiff's contract of employment with third party, causing her to lose wages and incur litigat......
  • Daily v. New Britain Mach. Co.
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    ...364, 377-78, 260 A.2d 596 (1969).' Bartha v. Waterbury House Wrecking Co., 190 Conn. 8, 11, 459 A.2d 115 (1983). See Herman v. Endriss, 187 Conn. 374, 446 A.2d 9 (1982). Once the moving party has presented evidence in support of the motion for summary judgment, the opposing party must prese......
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    ... ... but also where the ... interference causes the performance to be more expensive or ... burdensome ... Herman v. Endriss , 187 Conn. 374, ... 376-77, 446 A.2d 9 (1982). (Citations omitted; internal ... quotation marks omitted.) Van Eck v. West ... ...
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