WILCHFORT v. BALSAMO

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department, New York.

Ronald WILCHFORT, appellant, v. Michael BALSAMO, respondent.

Decided: February 22, 1999

CORNELIUS J. O'BRIEN, J.P., DAVID S. RITTER, WILLIAM C. THOMPSON and GLORIA GOLDSTEIN, JJ. Sharmela Bachu, Jamaica, N.Y., for appellant. Michael Balsamo, Garden City, N.Y. (Thomas Valet of counsel), respondent pro se.

In an action to recover damages for tortious interference with contract, the plaintiff appeals, as limited by his brief, from so much of an order of the Supreme Court, Queens County (Schmidt, J.), dated December 29, 1997, as granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.

ORDERED that the order is affirmed insofar as appealed from, with costs.

The plaintiff, an attorney, commenced this action against the defendant, an attorney and college professor, for damages based upon an alleged tortious interference with contract.   The plaintiff alleged that in order to obtain a substantial referral fee, the defendant induced a client to discharge him and employ new counsel.   After issue was joined, the defendant moved, inter alia, for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, and the court granted that relief.   We affirm.

The defendant established a prima facie case of entitlement to summary judgment in his favor.   In response, the plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue of fact that the defendant either induced the breach (see, Lama Holding Co. v. Smith Barney, 88 N.Y.2d 413, 646 N.Y.S.2d 76, 668 N.E.2d 1370;  Guard-Life Corp. v. Parker Hardware Mfg. Corp., 50 N.Y.2d 183, 428 N.Y.S.2d 628, 406 N.E.2d 445) or engaged in the wrongful conduct required concerning an at-will employment contract (see, Guard-Life Corp. v. Parker Hardware Mfg. Corp., supra;  Jurlique, Inc. v. Austral Biolab Pty., 187 A.D.2d 637, 590 N.Y.S.2d 235;  Mayo, Lynch & Assocs. v. Fine, 148 A.D.2d 424, 538 N.Y.S.2d 580;  Koeppel v. Schroder, 122 A.D.2d 780, 505 N.Y.S.2d 666).   Thus, the complaint was properly dismissed.

MEMORANDUM BY THE COURT.

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