Lumley v. Gye
Lumley v. Gye
Facts: P alleged that W had agreed to sing at his opera house, but D maliciously procured her to depart out of the employment of P; whereby she did depart out of the employment and service of P; whereby damage was suffered by P
Issue: Is D liable to P for malicious interference?
Holding: Yes, we are justified in applying the principle of the action for enticing away servants to a case where the defendant maliciously procures a party, who is under a valid contract to give her exclusive personal services to the plaintiff for a specified period, to refuse to give such services during the period for which she had so contracted, whereby the plaintiff was injured.
Judgment: judgment for plaintiff
Rule Statement: a person who wrongfully and maliciously, or, which is the same thing, with notice, interrupts the relation subsisting between master and servant by procuring the servant to depart from the master’s service, or by harbouring and keeping him as servant after he has quitted it and during the time stipulated for as the period of service, whereby the master is injured, commits a wrongful act for which he is responsible at law Rationale:
- The wrong and injury are surely the same whether the wrongdoer entices away the gardener, who has hired himself for a year, the night before he is to go to his work, or after be has planted the first cabbage on the first morning of his service; and I should be sorry to support a distinction so unjust, and so repugnant to common sense
- Nor is it an answer to say that there is a remedy against the contractor and that the party relies on the contract; for, besides that reason also applying to the case of master and servant, the action on the contract and the action against the malicious wrong doer may be for a different matter; and the damages payable for such malicious injury might be calculated on a very different principle from the amount of the debt which might be the only sum recoverable on the contract.