MN Tortious interference with contract, reliance on advice of counsel

Minnesota case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: MN Tortious interference with contract, reliance on advice of counsel.

Sysdyne Corporation v. Brian Rousslang, et al.. MN Tortious interference with contract, reliance on advice of counsel

Xigent Solutions, LLC, hired a former employee of Sysdyne Corporation, even though the former employee was subject to a non-compete agreement. Xigent, however, relied upon legal advice that it was justified in doing so. Sysdyne sued for tortious interference with contract, and the case was eventually heard by the Minnesota Supreme Court. The Minnesota high court, in an opinion authored by Justice Page, held:

  1. The justification defense against a claim of tortious interference with contract may be satisfied by a defendant's good-faith reliance on advice of outside counsel, provided that the legal advice is obtained through a reasonable inquiry.
  2. In this case, the trial court and court of appeals did not err in concluding that Xigent met its burden of proving that its interference with the contract was justified based on reliance on the advice of counsel, given the evidence supporting the trial court's findings that respondent engaged in a reasonable inquiry with outside counsel and honestly relied on counsel’s advice that the contract was unenforceable.

No. A13-0898 (Minn. Mar. 4, 2015)

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

For more information about attorney Clem, please visit his website.
For more information about his low-cost CLE programs, please visit his CLE page.
Return to index of case summaries

Copyright 2015, Richard P. Clem.
Attorney Richard P. Clem is responsible for the content of this page.

Richard P. Clem, Attorney
PO Box 14957
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Phone: +1-612-378-7751
Minnesota Attorney Registration Number 0192648

Books by Richard Clem:

Please visit my author page at

Copyright and privacy notice.