Virginia recognizes a cause of action against those who tortiously interfere with the contractual expectancies of another. To prove tortious interference with business expectancy under Virginia law, a plaintiff must show (1) the existence of a valid business expectancy; (2) knowledge of the expectancy on the part of the interferor; (3) intentional interference inducing or causing a breach or termination of the expectancy; (4) that the defendant employed improper methods when engaging in the intentional interference; and (5) resulting damage to the party whose expectancy has been disrupted. (See Dunlap v. Cottman Transmission Sys., LLC, 287 Va. 207 (2014)). Not long ago, the Virginia Supreme Court clarified that “[a]n action for tortious interference with a contract or business expectancy…does not lie against parties to the contract, but only lies against those outside the contractual relationship, i.e., strangers to the contract or business expectancy.” (See Francis Hosp., Inc. v. Read Props., LLC, 296 Va. 358 (2018)). This means that parties directly involved in the business expectancy may not be held liable for tortious interference with that expectancy.
Last month, the Eastern District of Virginia dismissed a count of tortious interference against a staffing company after it found that the staffing company was not really a stranger to the expectancy. Here’s what happened, according to the opinion issued in ITility, LLC v. The Staffing Resource Group, Inc.