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Silverman Thompson Scores Remand in Third Circuit that Revives Client’s Complaint Against Business Rival for Tortious Interference

In fall 2021, Silverman Thompson filed suit in federal court in Pennsylvania on behalf of a provider of inmate communication services for prisons. The suit alleged that just as Silverman Thompson’s client was about to finalize a contract with a county prison, the incumbent service provider and business rival used illegal, anti-competitive tactics to scuttle the deal and secure a renewal of its contract with the prison. After extensive preliminary motions practice, the district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim, but gave Silverman Thompson’s client the opportunity to amend. Confident in its claims as drafted by Silverman Thompson, the client elected to stand on the complaint and appealed the dismissal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.


After briefing and oral argument in the Third Circuit led by Silverman Thompson attorneys, the client’s choice was vindicated in December 2023 when the appeals court issued an opinion vacating the dismissal and remanding for further proceedings in the district court to more fully evaluate whether the complaint stated claims under Pennsylvania common law.


On remand, the district court re-examined whether the complaint adequately alleged “independently actionable conduct” by the business rival sufficient to state a claim for tortious interference.  Finding that the complaint had adequately alleged defamation of Silverman Thompson’s client as a means of preventing it from getting the contract, the court denied the motion to dismiss the tortious interference claim.  The case will now go forward to discovery.


Silverman Thompson regularly handles complex business disputes like this.  To discuss this case or how the firm may assist you, please contact any of the lawyers involved:  Bill Sinclair, Phil Closius, or Todd Hesel.

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