Law of Torts: What Is Tortious Interference in Business?


Unfortunately, most large businesses will end up having to be represented in court at one point or another. Statistics show that many large companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year on litigation costs.

There are many different reasons why you might end up in court as a business owner, whether as a plaintiff or a defendant. Tortious interference is one such reason.

Tortious interference occurs when a third party interferes with an established business contract or relationship between two parties. The rules vary from place to place, and it can be difficult to say for sure whether tortious interference has occurred in a given situation.

To learn more about this legal doctrine and how it might apply to you, keep reading.

What Is Tortious Interference?

When two parties agree to do business together, there needs to be a basis for trusting that the relationship will continue for a certain length of time, under a certain set of circumstances. If the two parties cannot trust that this will be the case, they will be unable to trade productively with each other.

This is why we have tortious interference laws. They make it so that third parties can’t undo the hard work that goes into establishing business relationships.

When Might a Tortious Interference Suit Be Successful?

Suing for tortious interference isn’t as simple as claiming some third party has stolen business from you. A lawsuit like this will only be successful in two specific sets of circumstances.

Interference With an Existing Contract

A contract is the fundamental legal basis of a business relationship. Once two parties make an agreement with an enforceable contract, one can take legal action against the other (or against a third party) if a term is breached.

To succeed in a tortious interference claim under this heading, you will need to prove the existence of a contract that a third party knew about and unfairly interfered with. You’ll also have to show how this affected your business interests.

Interference With Prospective Economic Advantage

There does not always have to be a formal legal contract in place for a business relationship to exist. If you can show that a third party interfered with an existing relationship that hurt your ability to profit from your business, you may succeed in a tortious interference suit.

Case studies can help you learn more about this kind of tortious interference.

Protecting Your Business Interests

If you’re running a business, the last thing you need is tortious interference from a competitor. Unless you can trust that your business relationships will survive productively in the future, you have no solid basis for maintaining and expanding your operations.

Luckily, this area of civil law was designed to prevent this from happening. If you feel one of your competitors has breached tortious interference rules, you should waste no time in taking legal action.

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