L. JULIAN SAMUEL, Judge Pro Tem.
Plaintiff Douglas St. Romain, an attorney, filed this action against Jim Kenny and Fireman's Fund Insurance Company seeking damages for their alleged malicious interference with his business relations. The petition states that the defendants attempted to induce St. Romain's client to breach the attorney-client contract by settling a claim and keeping the entire amount of the recovery, thus depriving St. Romain of his contingency fee. The plaintiff alleges that such conduct on the part of the defendants created a conflict of interest between himself and his client, and that as a result, he was forced to withdraw as legal counsel. St. Romain prays for damages in the amount he would have recovered had he not been forced to relinquish the case; in the alternative, he asks the trial court to award quantum meruit.
After answering the plaintiff's suit, Kenny and Fireman's Fund filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court granted the motion and dismissed the claim. St. Romain now brings this appeal. We reverse.
Defendants' motion for summary judgment was urged on the sole contention that St. Romain's claim was premature, not in the sense in which that word is used in La.C.Civ.Pro. Art. 926, but in the sense that there was not, as yet, a viable cause of action.
Reduced to its elements, defendants' position is that the undisputed facts do not establish a cause of action for malicious interference with business relations. However persuasive that argument may be, defendants have chosen the wrong procedural vehicle by which to raise it. As it was stated in B-W Acceptance Corp. v. Clarkson, 154 So.2d 67, 69 (La.App. 4th Cir.1963):
Applying the foregoing principle, we hold that the defendants' motion for summary judgment, being an improper substitute for an exception of no cause of action, should not have been granted. Accordingly, the judgment of the trial court is reversed and the defendant's motion for summary judgment is denied. The case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
REVERSED AND REMANDED.