Kumpf v. Steinhaus
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
779 F.2d 1323 (1985)
William Kumpf (plaintiff) served as president and CEO of Lincoln Sales Corporation of Wisconsin (Lincoln Wisconsin) until August 1983. Kumpf owned 20 percent of Lincoln Wisconsin’s stock. Lincoln National Sales Corporation (Lincoln Sales) owned the remaining 80 percent. Lincoln Sales was a subsidiary of Lincoln National Life Insurance Company (Lincoln Life) (defendant). In August 1983, Orin Steinhaus (defendant), an executive vice president of Lincoln Life, was put in charge of revising Lincoln Life’s sales structure. Steinhaus ultimately decided to consolidate five Midwestern sales agencies by merging them into a single agency that was Lincoln Chicago Corporation (Lincoln Chicago) at the time. As a result of the consolidation, Lincoln Wisconsin was dissolved along with Kumpf’s job as president and CEO. Steinhaus became president of Lincoln Chicago, and his income increased, in part due to receiving income that used to go to Kumpf via Lincoln Wisconsin. Kumpf filed an action against Steinhaus, claiming that Steinhaus had tortiously interfered with the employment contract between Kumpf and Lincoln Wisconsin. The case proceeded to trial, and the judge instructed the jury that it was permitted to find that the actions of Steinhaus were improper if the sole motive for his actions were a desire for revenge, ill will, malice, or personal considerations. The jury returned a verdict for Steinhaus. Kumpf appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Easterbrook, J.)
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