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Richmond v. Hahn

OPINION FILED JULY 22, 1985.

LINDA RICHMOND, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

DONALD HAHN ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Will County; the Hon. Charles P. Connor, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE WOMBACHER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied August 26, 1985.

Plaintiff appeals the trial court's dismissal of her complaint alleging intentional interference with contractual relations. We reverse and remand.

Plaintiff was employed by defendant Catholic Diocese of Joliet (Diocese). She was a teacher at St. Martin of Tours School in Kankakee. Defendant Donald Hahn (Hahn) was the principal at St. Martin's. Plaintiff had taught at St. Martin's in the 1982-83 school year. She signed a contract renewal for the 1983-84 school year in April 1983.

In August 1983, plaintiff was contacted by James De Zwann, the principal of Shabbona School, a public school in Bourbonnais. De Zwann offered plaintiff a teaching position at Shabbona. Shabbona offered a considerably higher salary as well as better teaching conditions. Plaintiff accepted.

She then informed Hahn that she was resigning her position at St. Martin's. Hahn recommended to the board of trustees of St. Martin's that plaintiff not be released from her contract. Hahn contacted De Zwann to protest the hiring of plaintiff. Hahn stated that the Diocese would seek the revocation of plaintiff's teaching certificate. Defendants made similar threats repeatedly, even though they were able to replace plaintiff within two days.

As a result, plaintiff was temporarily relieved of her duties at Shabbona and was given two weeks to resolve the problem with St. Martin's. Despite plaintiff's actions, the problem was never cleared up. Shabbona then broke its agreement with plaintiff. Subsequently, the Diocese informed her that her contract was cancelled.

These are the basic facts as alleged in plaintiff's complaint. Defendants moved to dismiss under sections 2-615 and 2-619 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 110, pars. 2-615, 2-619). The trial court granted the motion based on section 2-615. The motion based on section 2-619 was specifically denied. Plaintiff brings this appeal.

Our standard of review is whether, on the facts alleged, drawing all reasonable inferences therefrom, there was any possibility of recovery demonstrated under the theory alleged. Sherman v. Field Clinic (1979), 74 Ill. App.3d 21, 392 N.E.2d 154; Venturini v. Affatato (1980), 84 Ill. App.3d 547, 405 N.E.2d 1093.

• 1 A plaintiff's complaint must allege all the essential elements of the theory of recovery. The essential elements in tortious interference with contractual relations are:

1. Existence of a valid and enforceable contract between plaintiff and another;

2. Defendants' awareness of the contract;

3. Defendants' intentional and unjustified inducement of a breach of that contract;

4. A subsequent breach of the contract by the third party, caused by ...


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