counts I and V insofar as they fail to plead equitable accounting properly, and because counts II and VIII are improperly asserted separately from the breach of contract claims in counts I and V, the court dismisses counts II and VIII with leave granted to file an amended complaint consistent with this decision.
Counts III and VII assert a claim for quantum meruit and unjust enrichment. The complaint attempts to recover under this equitable theory for services performed "during the terms of the agreement." The complaint does not allege that the contracts between Capitol Bankers and both National Service and Lexington were void for any reason. It therefore appears that the plaintiffs are not attempting to plead in the alternative in case they fail to establish the express contract as in Business Development Servs. v. Field Container Corp., 96 Ill. App. 3d 834, 422 N.E.2d 86, 94, 52 Ill. Dec. 405 (1981). On the contrary, plaintiffs acknowledge the existence of the contracts in counts III and VII. As a result, the court strikes the allegations in counts III and VII insofar as they allege a claim for unjust enrichment and quantum meruit during the terms of the agreement.
Nonetheless, the complaint also alleges that after the respective contracts were terminated, both National Service and Lexington were asked by Capitol Bankers to continue to perform their services. In that case, the allegations of quantum meruit and unjust enrichment state a claim. See id. Capitol Bankers argues that the agreements provided that payments were to continue for a period of time after termination of the contracts and therefore a claim to recover for these services after termination must be asserted under the contract, not under the equitable theories of quantum meruit and unjust enrichment. The contract actually provides that services and payments were to continue for six months after notice of termination was provided. The complaint states that National Service and Lexington both continued working after their agreements were terminated. The complaint does not specify how long a period of time after termination or notice of termination that services continued. If Capitol Bankers permitted services to be performed after the agreements were terminated or after the time specified in the contracts, then recovery is available under the theory of quantum meruit. See 422 N.E.2d at 95. The motion to dismiss counts III and VII is denied.
Last, count IV alleges a claim for intentional interference with National Service's prospective business advantage. To state a claim for tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, a plaintiff must allege (1) he or she possessed a reasonable expectation of entering into a valid business relationship; (2) the defendant knew of this expectancy; (3) the defendant purposefully interfered with the expectancy such that he or she prevented it from ripening into a valid business relationship; and (4) damages resulted from the interference. Fellhauer v. City of Geneva, 142 Ill. 2d 495, 568 N.E.2d 870, 878, 154 Ill. Dec. 649 (1991). The tort of interference usually lies against third-parties who interfere with the formation of a business relationship between other people. See, e.g., Belden Corp. v. Internorth, Inc., 90 Ill. App. 3d 547, 413 N.E.2d 98, 45 Ill. Dec. 765 (1980) (discharge was result of intentional and unjustified action of another); see also Fellhauer, 568 N.E.2d at 878-79 (one who induces another to breach contract with a third party will be liable).
The complaint and the agreement itself reveal that the agents with whom National Service was to perform its services were agents of Capitol Bankers. National Service was not contemplating entering into contracts or advantageous business relationships with these agents, but was to find and train these agents for the benefit of Capitol Bankers. The agents were to be the agents of Capitol Bankers and National Service's payment was to come from Capitol Bankers. As such, National Service was not contemplating any additional business or contractual relationship with these parties. This situation "does not present an instance of outsiders intermeddling maliciously in the contracts or affairs of other parties." Fellhauer, 568 N.E.2d at 879 (citing Loewenthal Securities Co. White Paving Co., 351 Ill. 285, 300, 184 N.E. 310 (1932)). Instead, the complaint reveals that Capitol Bankers made a decision to discontinue its relationship with National Service, a decision that did not affect any contracts or business with third parties. The motion to dismiss count IV is granted.
For the reasons outlined above, the court grants in part and denies in part Capitol Bankers' motion to dismiss. Counts I, II, V, and VIII are dismissed without prejudice. The court grants leave to file an amended complaint in accordance with this opinion. The court strikes the allegations in counts III and VII that state "during the performance of the Agreement." Last, count IV is dismissed with prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
CHARLES RONALD NORGLE, SR., Judge
United States District Court
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