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What is Tortious Interference in Business?

Regan Atwood handles tortious interference disputes for business owners or parties who have had a business relationship intentionally disrupted or destroyed when a third party intentionally disrupts that relationship or contract.

What is Tortious Interference in Business?

What is tortious interference in business? Tortious interference can occur in many different instances:

  • When a former employee goes to a primary competitor with a list of clients or with a trade secret
  • When a person intentionally posts false information publicly about a business to ruin its validity as a business
  • When a neighbor intentionally damages, destroys or diminishes the value of a like home in a neighborhood to keep a home from selling

To be successful in a tortious interference complaint, a plaintiff must demonstrate that damages were a direct result of a defendant’s actions.

The following must also be proven:

  1. The defendant intentionally and unjustly interfered with or otherwise disrupted, damaged, or destroyed the business relationship;
  2. There was a business relationship or just the potential for a business relationship;
  3. There was an advantageous or contractual relationship with another party;
  4. The defendant knew about the business relationship, and, damages resulted from this disruption.

If there is interference, there must be a relationship. Florida law recognizes two forms of relationships that can be subject to tortious interference:

  1. Contractual business relationships, and,
  2. Advantageous business relationships

Contractual Business Relationships

Contractual business relationships are those established by a contract between the parties, including non-disclosure agreements, non-compete agreements, or, sales agreements.

Advantageous Business Relationships

Advantageous business relationships are harder to define but can include scenarios like a sales relationship with a vendor or a client.

Additionally, the interference must take the form of causing the other party to the relationship to withdraw from the relationship or break a promise under a contract.

Tortious Interference Is Expensive

If a plaintiff can prove tortious interference, a defendant may owe significant compensation for lost profits caused as a direct result of his or her actions.

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