Cedroni Associates, Inc v Tomblinson, ___ Mich App ___ (#287024, 11/16/2010)
With respect to a claim of tortious interference with a business expectancy, a plaintiff must prove (1) the existence of a valid business expectancy, (2) knowledge of the expectancy on the part of the defendant, (3) an intentional interference by the defendant inducing or causing a termination of the expectancy, and (4) resultant damage to the plaintiff. Dalley v Dykema Gossett, PLLC, 287 Mich App 296 (2010); Blazer Foods, Inc v Restaurant Properties, Inc, 259 Mich App 241 (2003). A valid business expectancy is one in which there exists a reasonable likelihood or probability that the expectancy will come to fruition; mere wishful thinking is not sufficient to support a claim. First Public Corp v Parfet, 246 Mich App 182 (2001), vacated in part on other grounds 468 Mich 101 (2003); Trepel v Pontiac Osteopathic Hosp, 135 Mich App 361 (1984).
Although the exercise of professional business judgment in making recommendations relative to government contracts and projects must be afforded some level of protection and deference, a cause of action may exist if there exists evidence suggesting that the ostensible exercise of professional business judgment is in reality a disguised or veiled attempt to intentionally and improperly interfere with the contractual or expectant business relationships of others. It is then for the trier of fact to sort through all of the conflicting evidence and assess the credibility of the parties’ claims and their witnesses.