Walnut Street Associates, Inc. v. Brokerage Concepts, Inc.Annotate this Case
Appellant Walnut Street Associates (WSA) provides insurance brokerage services and helps employers obtain health insurance for their employees. Appellee Brokerage Concepts, Inc. (BCI) is a third party administrator of employee benefit plans. Procacci retained BCI as administrator of its insurance plans, and BCI paid commissions to WSA based on premiums paid by Procacci. In 2005, Procacci requested BCI reduce its costs, but BCI would not meet Procacci’s proposal. Procacci then notified BCI that it would take its business elsewhere. BCI asked Procacci to reconsider, and in the process, disclosed to Procacci how much it paid to WSA as its broker. The amount was higher than Procacci believed WSA had been earning, but there was no dispute that BCI’s statements about WSA’s compensation were true. As a result of BCI’s letter, Procacci terminated its contract with WSA. WSA sued BCI alleging that BCI tortiously interfered with the WSA/Procacci contract by disclosing the amount of WSA’s compensation. BCI argued that it could not be liable for tortious interference because what it said was true, or otherwise justified and privileged. At trial, the jury found that BCI did interfere in the WSA/Procacci contract. BCI appealed, and the appellate court reversed the trial court’s judgment. The appellate court adopted a section of the Restatement of Torts, which said that truth is a defense to a claim of tortious interference. WSA maintained that the Restatement was not applicable according to Pennsylvania law. The Supreme Court reviewed the case and adopted the Restatement defense that truth is a defense to claims of tortious interference with contractual relations. The Court affirmed the decision of the appellate court.