Where a lender allegedly sought payment of its loan by interfering with a contract between one of the debtor’s principals – who had no obligation to pay the loan – and an unrelated party, the debtor’s principal has sufficiently alleged tortious interference with contract.
The court denies the lender’s motion for judgment on the pleadings as to the defendant-principal’s counterclaims.
According to defendant Gibney’s counterclaim, the plaintiff-lender repeatedly demanded that Gibney pay the alleged debt of defendant WAIM Management Co., Inc., even though Gibney had no legal obligation to do so. When Gibney refused, the lender threatened him with legal action and said it “would find a way to hold [him] responsible” for WAIM’s obligations.
In addition to being a principal of WAIM, Gibney has an agreement with non-party Sterling Commercial Credit, LLC, pursuant to which Sterling pays him commissions for client referrals. The lender pressured Sterling into paying Gibney’s commissions to the lender, and not to Gibney.
Taken as true, Gibney’s allegations show that the lender interfered with Gibney’s relationship with Sterling for the purpose of collecting a debt that Gibney had no duty to pay. Nothing in the pleadings establishes, as a matter of law, that the lender was justified in seeking to collect WAIM’s debt from Gibney by interfering with his personal contractual relationships. North Carolina law does not require Gibney to allege malice as a separate, additional element of tortious interference with contract.
Lenders Funding, LLC v. WAIM Management Co. (Lawyers Weekly No. 020-043-18, 9 pp.) (Adam Conrad, J.) Jeffrey Southerland and Jaye Bingham-Hinch for plaintiff; J. Patrick Haywood and Rachel Decker for defendant. 2018 NCBC 67