Defendants and counter-claimants Elliot Landy and Landyvision, Inc. (the counter-claimants) asserted several counter-claims, including for tortious interference with business relationships and tortious inference with contract. In response, counter-defendants Barry Z. Levine, Linanne G. Sackett, and The Brunswick Institute (the counter-defendants) moved to dismiss the counter-claims. The dispute arose when Levine and Landy, both photographers who attended and photographed the Woodstock Music Festival, disagreed as to whether Landy’s use of Levine’s photographs in several publications was proper.
The U.S. Circuit Court for the Northern District of New York granted in part and denied in part the counter-defendants’ motion to dismiss certain counter-claims. The court found the tortious inference with business relationships claim to be adequately pled because the counter-claimants asserted that the counter-defendants interfered with their business relationships by intentionally and falsely representing to several companies that Landy was not authorized to license Levine’s photographs, thereby damaging the counter-claimants’ reputations. As a result, the court denied the motion to dismiss that claim.
However, the court found that the counter-claimants did not adequately plead the elements of the tortious interference with contract the claim because counter-claimants did not set forth a specific contract, but merely alleged that they had “oral and/or written contracts.” The counter-claimants also failed sufficiently to allege a breach of the contract, asserting only that they no longer had a business relationship with certain corporations. Consequently, the court granted the motion to dismiss that claim.
Levine v. Landy, No. 1:11-CV-1038 (N.D.N.Y. May 18, 2012).