We would like to think that all businesses will act fairly to maintain a free market in the U.S. However, sometimes competition between businesses in the Huntington Valley area turns improper, leading to a claim of tortious interference. The following is a brief overview of what constitutes the common law business tort of tortious interference.
What is tortious interference?
Tortious interference takes place when one business or person interferes with another business’ contracts or relationships with clients or customers. However, to constitute tortious interference, there must be the intent to cause the business to suffer some form of economic damages.
What are some examples of tortious interference?
There are a variety of ways a business can engage in tortious interference. For example, a person or business can offer customers or clients goods or services at a cost that is below market prices, in order to cause a breach of contract. Blackmailing or threatening clients or customers into breaching existing contracts also constitutes tortious interference. If a business or person makes it impossible for a party to fulfill their obligations under an existing contract or receive what they are owed under an existing contract, this could also constitute tortious interference.
Intention is key
Keep in mind that to constitute tortious interference, the defendant must have intended to cause the plaintiff economic harm. Mere negligence is not enough. Moreover, even if the defendant acted intentionally, if the motive behind the acts itself was not improper, it may not be enough to constitute tortious interference.
Tortious interference can be very damaging to a business, but it is also a complex situation that businesses may not want to handle alone. This post does not contain legal advice for any specific person or business’ situation. Thus, it may be helpful to consult with a business law attorney if you suspect tortious interference, so you can make informed decisions moving forward.