Business owners in California need to be aware of the issue of tortious interference, which occurs when a person or business deliberately hampers the contracts or relationships of another business. Such an act is intentionally damaging to at least one party. Lawsuits for tortious interference are fairly common business torts.
Types of tortious interference
One of the most common kinds of tortious interference occurs when someone makes it impossible for someone else to fulfill the terms of a contract. This can happen in several ways. For example, one party could obstruct the shipment of goods to another, or they could threaten someone to motivate them to break a contract. They might strongly encourage someone to breach an existing contract by making them a competing and artificially favorable offer.
Tortious interference is a serious problem. Contracts are foundational in the world of business, so meddling with contractual relationships on purpose strikes at the heart of a business’s ability to function. Intent is important in determining whether tortious interference has actually occurred. The defendant in the case must have a demonstrable level of knowledge of the contract they disrupted.
Attempts at tortious interference that don’t result in disrupted business relationships do not have merit in the eyes of the court. Only actual interference that caused damage can be the basis for these kinds of business torts. Tortious interference also must be improper for it to be actionable. Some forms of tortious interference amount to taking a moral stand; legally, that’s viewed differently from something designed solely to hurt another person or business.
Getting legal help
Business torts like tortious interference are complex. It’s important to speak with an experienced attorney about a possible case. Legal professionals may be able to help business owners understand whether their claims have merit.