The skilled business law and litigation attorneys at Perez Mayoral, P.A. provide a broad range of legal services to businesses throughout South Florida. One complex matter we deal with is tortious interference. Tortious interference occurs when one party unlawfully interferes with the contractual or business relationships of another, typically leading to a breach of contract. If you have experienced intentional interference by a third party in one of your business relationships, contact us promptly. We will fight vigorously to see that you receive the damages you deserve.
Types of Tortious Interference
Tortious interference can impede or fracture business relationships in one of two ways:
- Interfering with existing contract agreements/relationships
- Interfering with prospective economic advantage, i.e. negatively affecting relationships that are not contractual, but may become so in the future
Four Necessary Elements to Prove Tortious Interference with an Existing Contract
“Tortious” is an awkward word derived from the word “tort,” a wrongful act infringing on another’s right. Torts are not criminal acts but can lead to civil legal liability. Once we take your case, we prepare to win in court by proving:
- The existence of a valid contract between your business and another
- That the third party (the defendant) knew of the existence of this contract
- That the defendant wrongfully and intentionally interfered with this contract relationship
- That you (the plaintiff) suffered a financial injury due to the defendant’s actions
Examples of Tortious Interference
Most businesses have contractual relationships with multiple parties, including clients, customers, agents, distributors, vendors, insurers, lenders, and subcontractors. Below are some examples of tortious interference:
- Inducing a contractor or vendor into breaking a contract
- Threatening a supplier to interfere with the supply line of goods and services
- Falsely claiming that a restaurant or beauty salon uses unsanitary practices
- Refusing to deliver goods with the intent of obstructing another party’s ability to meet their end of a contract with a customer
- Deliberately and knowingly causing a new employee to violate a non-compete agreement with their previous employer
Interference With Prospective Economic Advantage
In many cases, business relationships can be significant and profitable even without a formal contract, for instance, if you are negotiating a merger or acquisition with another company. Since such an action would be expected to result in increased profits and perhaps reputational enhancement for your company, the interference of a third party could be extremely detrimental. In such a case, our sharp tortious interference attorneys would file a claim against the interfering party to recover the damages you are entitled to.
Four Necessary Elements to Prove Tortious Interference with a Business Relationship
Though similar to the necessary elements for tortious interference with an existing contact, these elements are not identical. In this type of case, our tortious interference lawyers must prove that:
- Your company had a business relationship with another party, though that relationship was not documented by a contract.
- The defendant knew of this relationship
- The defendant intentionally and wrongfully interfered in your business relationship
- This defendant’s interference with your business relationship caused harm
It is important to note that Florida law makes a distinction between tortious interference in a business arrangement that is under an existing contract and one that involves a prospective business relationship. In cases involving the latter, the plaintiff’s attorneys must prove that the defendant actually engaged in improper conduct. On the other hand, in cases involving the former, in which there was a legal contract in place, interference can be proven even if the defendant’s acts were legal.
Improper Conduct in Cases of Tortious Interference
To clarify, examples of improper conduct include:
- Use of fraud or misrepresentation
- Economic pressure
- Initiation of civil lawsuits or criminal prosecutions
- Physical violence or threats of physical violence
How Tortious Interference Cases Are Adjudicated
Our tortious interference attorneys understand the components considered by the courts in these cases, which may be complex and require careful dissection. These include:
- The relationships among all involved parties
- What the defendant actually did to interfere
- What the defendant’s intentions were
- What the plaintiff’s interests are
- Whose interests are most aligned with society’s best interests (e.g. preserving a competitive free market may be in society’s best interests, but not yours)
- How direct or indirect the defendant’s interference was
What Perez Mayoral Will Do for You
As you can see, tortious interference cases require savvy business attorneys. Our legal team will provide you with excellent representation. We have the well-honed communication, investigatory, and litigation skills to win your case, and the track record of positive outcomes to give you confidence.
We are ready, if necessary, to launch claims against both the third party who interfered and the party who breached the contract, seeking appropriate compensation from each. We may also claim both interferences with an existing contract and interference with prospective economic advantage, to increase our chances of recovering damages. Damages may include economic loss, loss of anticipated profits, and, in some cases, punitive damages.
Contact Our Experienced Tortious Interference Attorneys Today
If you are being victimized by someone who is unfairly and improperly getting in the way of your business’s profitability, don’t wait. Tortious interference can be more than an impediment; it can be a destructive force that negatively impacts the business you have worked so hard to build. Contact us now so our capable attorneys can start fighting aggressively to protect your rights.