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Lowell v. Mother’s Cake & Cookie Co.

Court of Appeal of California
144 Cal. Rptr. 664 (1978)


Facts

Fred Lowell (plaintiff) was the sole owner of Lowell Freight Lines, Inc. (the Company). The Company had performed delivery services for Mother’s Cake & Cookie Company (MCCC) (defendant) for over five years. This business accounted for approximately 40 percent of the Company’s income. Lowell sought to sell the Company and received multiple offers. One of the offers was for $200,000 but was conditioned on the Company’s maintaining its business relationship with MCCC. MCCC told the prospective buyer that its contract with the Company would terminate if Lowell sold the Company. As a result of this, the potential buyer, along with other offerors, withdrew. MCCC then bought the Company for $17,400. Lowell brought suit against MCCC for intentional interference with prospective business advantage, claiming that MCCC’s intention was to drive down the market price of the Company so that MCCC could purchase the Company for itself. The trial court dismissed the complaint, finding that MCCC’s interference was justified. Lowell appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kane, J.)

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