Dallas Business Lawyer for Tortious Interference

What Is Tortious Interference?

Tortious interference is a common law tort allowing a claim for damages against a party who wrongfully interferes with another party’s contractual or business relationships.

The first kind of economic injury, “tortious interference with contract,” occurs when the individual or entity who is not a party to a contract says or does something that results in one of the parties breaching the contract. The second kind is “tortious interference with a business relationship,” which is similar to tortious interference with a contract, except that an actual contract doesn’t have to exist.

Tortious Interference Claim

In order to make a tortious interference claim, the plaintiff must have previously had a valid contractual or business relations with another party. If the contract or expectancy in question was not properly created or violates public policy, then the defendant will have no liability for its breach. In effect, the contract never existed, so the defendant couldn't have caused its breach.

Certain contracts that are terminable at will present interesting situations for tortious interference claims. Just because a party can end a contract at will doesn't give the defendant the ability to induce that termination. If the defendant knowingly causes someone to end an at-will contractual or business relationship, and the motive for causing the termination is improper, they can still be held responsible for tortious interference.

Common Forms of Tortious Interference

The most common form of interference occurs when a person forces or induces someone to break a contract they have with a third party. This can occur in a variety of ways, such as someone offering below-market prices to induce a breach, blackmailing or threatening someone into a contract violation, or making it difficult for the other person to perform and obtain contract benefits.

To determine whether a tort has occurred, courts examine the person’s motivation which resulted in the breach to figure out whether or not they acted in an improper fashion. If the individual making the business decision does not have an improper motive for their actions and behavior, then it is not considered tortious interference.

The following are the basic elements of a tortious interference claim:

  • A valid contract or economic expectancy between the plaintiff and a third party
  • Knowledge of the contract or expectancy by the defendant
  • Defendant has an intention to interfere with the contract or expectancy
  • The interference is done in an improper fashion
  • The plaintiff suffers damages

Call (972) 200-3078 To Let Us Protect Your Rights & Best Interests

Business is highly competitive. When a business relationship ends, people and organizations can suffer because of it. With over 20 years of experience, our Dallas business litigation lawyer at the Law Offices of Dan Chern, P.C. can develop solutions aligned with your best interests and created to obtain the most favorable outcome possible.

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