Labor & Employment attorneys Joseph Centeno, Charlene Gedeus and Daivy Dambreville secured summary judgment in favor of client Drexel University and an individually named defendant on all three claims filed against the defendants: intentional interference with contractual relations, breach of implied contact and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The decision from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas is highly unusual, as the judges rarely grant motions for summary judgment. The case stemmed from the termination of the plaintiff’s at-will employment who brought one contract claim and two tort claims challenging the termination of her employment. In filing the motion for reconsideration, Buchanan successfully argued that the one claim which the plaintiff opposed in her response to the motion for summary judgment - intentional interference with contractual relations - is not cognizable in the context of an at-will presently existing employment relationship under controlling Pennsylvania law.
This issue has been heavily discussed in PA state and federal cases and has not yet been squarely decided by the PA Supreme Court. The PA Superior Court held in 1998, and again in 2011, that an action for intentional interference with the performance of a contract applies only to interference with a prospective employment relationship not a presently existing at-will employment relationship. Several federal courts have predicted how the PA Supreme Court will decide this issue if/when it addresses the issue.