What is Tortious Interference?

by | Jun 20, 2024 | Blog

You’ve worked hard to secure a contract with a client or built a business relationship that promises future profits. Suddenly, another party steps in, disrupts your business dealings, and causes you financial harm. This disruptive act might be more than just a business setback—it could be tortious interference. 

What is tortious interference? In this blog, we’ll explore the two main types and how to build a case if you believe you’ve been a victim.

What is Tortious Interference?

Tortious interference involves intentional acts by a third party designed to disrupt contractual or prospective business relationships, resulting in economic harm. There are two primary types of tortious interference: tortious interference with contract and tortious interference with prospective economic advantage. 

2 Types of Tortious Interference

  1. Tortious Interference with Contract

Tortious interference with a contract occurs when a third party intentionally breaches an existing agreement between two parties, leading to damages.

For instance, imagine you have a contract to provide catering services for Company A’s annual conference. However, Company A also regularly collaborates with Company B, your competitor. Company B, aiming to disrupt your business, convinces Company A to cancel their contract with you by offering them free services for their following five events. If Company A cancels your contract to take advantage of Company B’s offer, you may have a claim against Company B for tortious interference.

  1. Tortious Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage

This tortious interference involves a third party improperly disrupting a business relationship or an anticipated transaction, even when no formal contract exists.

Consider this example: You mention to a potential business partner that you are in advanced discussions to secure a major client for a new project. This potential partner, seeking an advantage, contacts the prospective client and falsely claims that your business is financially unstable, causing the client to back out of negotiations. Such actions could give you grounds for a claim of tortious interference with prospective economic advantage.

How to Make a Case for Tortious Interference

Proving Tortious Interference with a Contract

To successfully claim tortious interference with a contract, the plaintiff must prove several key elements:

  1. Existence of a Contract: There was a valid contract between the plaintiff and a third party.
  2. Defendant’s Knowledge: The defendant knew about the contract.
  3. Intentional Interference: The defendant intentionally interfered with the contract.
  4. Improper Interference: The defendant’s interference was improper.
  5. Resulting Breach: The interference caused the third party to breach the contract.
  6. Damages: The plaintiff suffered economic damage as a result of the breach.

Proving Tortious Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage

Proving tortious interference with prospective economic advantage can be more challenging. The plaintiff must demonstrate the following:

  1. Business Relationship: The plaintiff had a business relationship or anticipated one with a third party.
  2. Likelihood of Benefit: The relationship or expected transaction would benefit the plaintiff financially.
  3. Defendant’s Knowledge: The defendant knew about the relationship or expected transaction.
  4. Intentional Interference: The defendant intentionally interfered with the relationship.
  5. Improper Interference: The interference was improper.
  6. Resulting Disruption: The defendant’s conduct caused the third party to disrupt or terminate the relationship.
  7. Damages: The plaintiff suffered economic damage as a result.

For example, you may have a strong case if you have a history of successful transactions with a third party and expect the relationship to continue similarly. However, proving the interference can be more difficult if you merely plan to approach a third party for potential business without taking concrete steps.

If You Believe You Have Suffered Tortious Interference in Florida, Contact Saltiel Law Group Today

Now that we have answered what tortious interference is, if you suspect you’ve been a victim of it, it’s crucial to seek legal advice promptly. At Saltiel Law Group, we specialize in helping businesses navigate these complex legal challenges. Our experienced attorneys can evaluate your situation, gather necessary evidence, and build a compelling case to protect your business interests.

Contact us at 305-735-6565 for professional assistance and to ensure your rights are protected. Our team is dedicated to providing you with the support and legal expertise you need to address these issues effectively.