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Interference with contract

"Even if Hoff was trying to get Moore fired, people are constitutionally entitled to speak the truth about others, even with such a goal. (The tort actually requires either knowledge that such a result is practically certain or a purpose of producing such a result, but I take it that here the allegation is that Hoff wanted Moore to get fired.) The First Amendment constrains the interference with business relations tort, just as it constrains the infliction of emotional distress and other torts. See NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co. (1982)Blatty v. New York Times Co. (Cal. 1986) (speech constitutionally protected against a libel claim is also protected against an interference with business relations claim); Paradise Hills Assocs. (Cal. Ct. App. 1991) (same); Delloma v. Consolidated Coal Co. (7th Cir. 1993) (“permitting recovery for tortious interference based on truthful statements would seem to raise significant First Amendment problems”); Jefferson Cty. Sch. Dist. No. R-1 v. Moody’s Investor’s Services (10th Cir. 1999) (holding that interference with business relations and interference with contract claims can’t be based on expressions of opinion). The same should apply to the closely related interference with contract tort. See, e.g., Jefferson Cty. Sch. Dist.

Perhaps because of this, the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 772(a) provides that, “One who intentionally causes a third person not to perform a contract or not to enter into a prospective contractual relation with another does not interfere improperly with the other’s contractual relation, by giving the third person ... truthful information.” See also, among many other cases, Walnut Street Assocs., Inc. v. Brokerage Concepts, Inc. (Pa. Super. 2009) (so holding); Recio v. Evers (Neb. 2009) (likewise). [UPDATE: Reader CW notes that Minnesota seems to have accepted § 772(a) as well, see Glass Service Co. v. State Farm Ins. Co. (Minn. Ct. App. 1995)Fox Sports Net North, LLC v. Minnesota Twins Partnership (8th Cir. 2003).] But even if Minnesota courts take the opposite view as a matter of state law, such a view would be preempted by the First Amendment."

From California Bench Guide for Judges, "The shield law is applicable to publications on an electronic Web site that appears regularly online. Such a Web site falls within the statutory protection of a “newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication,” as a periodic publication. Such Web sites are highly analogous to printed publications: they consist predominantly of text on “pages” that the reader “opens,” reads at his or her own pace, and “closes.” They are also published periodically. O’Grady v Superior Court (2006) 139 CA4th 1423, 1461–1464, 44 CR3d 72

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