Connecticut Home Properties LLC v. Putnam Savings Bank
Allegations that the plaintiff signed a contract that provided the plaintiff mineral rights to property, and that the defendants knew about the contract and intentionally and tortiously interfered with that contract, can be sufficient to allege a cause of action for tortious interference with contract. Allegedly, the plaintiff, Valerie Law, and her husband acquired mineral rights in 2007, when they signed a contract for the purchase of property. Attorney Thomas Borner allegedly served as Law's attorney and prepared the sales contract. Allegedly, Borner is also the chief executive officer of the defendant, Putnam Savings Bank, and he incorporated Windham North Properties LLC. Law alleged that his knowledge that she owned mineral rights should be imputed to the bank and Windham North. Law sued the defendants, alleging they liened or acquired ownership interest in the property and refused to recognize Law's rights. The defendants moved to strike and argued that Connecticut does not recognize a cause of action for "suppression of ownership rights." The plaintiff objected that she alleged tortious interference with contract. To prevail on tortious interference with contract, the plaintiff must prove: 1.) existence of a contract or beneficial relationship about which the defendants knew; 2.) the defendants intended to interfere with the relationship; 3.) the defendants' interference was tortious; and 4.) the defendants' tortious conduct caused the plaintiff's loss, pursuant to Appleton v. Board of Education, a 2000 decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court. The plaintiff adequately alleged a cause of action for tortious interference with contract, and the Superior Court denied the motion to strike. The defendants also moved to strike Law's allegation that they trespassed. To prevail, the plaintiff must establish: 1.) an ownership or possessory interest in land; 2.) an intentional invasion, intrusion or entry by the defendants that affects the plaintiff's exclusive possessory interest; and 3.) the plaintiff was injured. Allegations that Law possessed a contract right to minerals, that the defendants knew about Law's rights and that the defendants interfered with the plaintiff's right to develop the property are sufficient to allege trespass. The court denied the motion to strike the trespass count.