Competition in the business world is a good thing but, at times, it can cross the line into tortious conduct. There are legal resources available to help parties impacted by interference with contractual relations or a business expectancy. Tortious interference occurs when one party, with the intent to cause economic harm, interferes with the contract or business relationships of another party.
The most common type of tortious interference is when one party induces another party to break a contract they have with a third party. The party that induces the conduct must intentionally do so and must be aware of the business relationship they are interfering with. When tortious interference has occurred, the party interfered with may be able to recover compensation for the damages suffered.
The elements of a claim for tortious interference include a valid contract or economic expectancy between the party bringing the claim and the third party; knowledge of the contract or expectancy on the part of the party against whom the claim is being brought; intent by the party against whom the claim is being brought to interfere with the contract or expectancy; actual interference; that the interference is improper; and that the party bringing the claim has suffered damages.
It is important to keep in mind that the party bringing the claim and the third party must have had a valid contract or business relationship that the party against whom the claim is being brought was aware of. Parties that have had their business contracts or business relationships interfered with may be able to recover compensation for the financial damages they have suffered because of a business tort.
Source: Smallbusiness.findlaw.com, “Tortious Interference,” Accessed Oct. 16, 2017