While many people have come across the word tortious interference, some of them still don’t know much about it. So, what is tortious interference? Well, it normally occurs when someone damages someone else’s business or contractual relationships with some third party intentionally. The main goal behind such action is to cause economic harm.
Tortious interference occurs when one party convinces another party to breach contract with some third party. It can be done using many ways including threats, influence, blackmail, etc. While markets should encourage competition, it shouldn’t go beyond certain limits. The competitive behavior must not cross its line into realm of tortious or improper conduct.
For instance, someone can interfere with business sale that has reached to its final stages but not yet formalized in written contract. Someone can even induce others to cease informal business relationship. What is tortious interference? What are its forms? Let us dig a bit deep into it in the following section.
Some of the most common types of Tortious interference
The most common type of interference occurs when someone induces or forces other individual to break contract that they have done with third party. From offering a breach to below market price, there are many different ways to do it. They can even threaten or blackmail anyone to violate a contract or make it next to impossible for anyone to receive or perform benefits of contract by refusing to transport the goods.
However, the defendant should act intentionally since negligence isn’t just enough. However, just because the act is intentional, it doesn’t mean that it was only tortious interference. To decide whether tort has occurred, the courts examine motivation of party that had caused breach and to decide whether they have acted in improper fashion.
In any tortious interference case, defendant is the one who interfered with business or contract relationship. It can be either through blackmail, inducement, unethical practices, or force.
Now, there are generally two kinds of victims when it comes to tortious interference case, the person or group of persons that are forced or induced to violate contract terms and other parties to contract that were bound to it. Both the kinds of victims can easily sue the one that committed interference for any kind of damages or loss that they suffer.
Basic elements of Tortious Interference Claim
- A valid economic expectancy or contract between plaintiff and the third person
- Knowledge of contract or the expectancy by defendant
- Actual interference
- Intent of defendant to interfere with expectancy or contract
- Interference is not proper
- Plaintiff suffers damage
What are the factors that determine improper Interference?
- Type of conduct
- Actor’s interests and motive
- Interest of other parties
- How close is the actor’s behavior is to interference?
- Relationships between parties
- Social interest in protecting the contract
Any business can be considered as a rough sport and many times the business relationships may even end due to tortious interference. The best way is to hire an attorney to get an evaluation of your claim.