Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Sturges
Supreme Court of Texas
52 S.W.3d 711 (2001)
Sturges (plaintiff) contracted to purchase a vacant lot located next to a Wal-Mart store. Sturges then entered into negotiations to lease the lot to Fleming Foods, a Texas grocery store chain. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Wal-Mart) (defendant) then decided that it wanted to purchase the vacant lot in order to expand its existing store. Wal-Mart informed management at Fleming Foods that it wanted to purchase the lot and if it did not, it would relocate its existing store elsewhere. Fleming Foods then ended its negotiations with Sturges because it did not want to build a grocery store on the lot if it would not be next to a Wal-Mart store. Sturges brought suit against Wal-Mart for tortious interference with their prospective lease with Fleming Foods. The trial court judge first instructed the jury that Wal-Mart wrongfully interfered with Sturges’ prospective contractual arrangement with Fleming Foods if (1) there was a reasonable probability that Sturges would have entered into contractual relation, and (2) Wal-Mart intentionally prevented the contractual relation from occurring with the purpose of harming Sturges. The jury answered “yes” on the issue. The trial court next instructed the jury by asking whether Wal-Mart’s intentional interference was justified, namely, if Wal-Mart possessed an interest in the subject matter equal or superior to that of the other party, or if it results from the good faith exercise of a party’s rights, or the good faith exercise of a party’s mistaken belief of its rights. The jury answered “no” to the question. The jury found Wal-Mart liable and assessed $1 million in actual damages and $500,000 in punitive damages. The court of appeals affirmed the award of actual damages but remanded the matter to the trial court for a retrial on the issue of punitive damages. The Supreme Court of Texas granted Wal-Mart’s petition for review.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hecht, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 175,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.