If you have established a business relationship or are in the negotiation stage of a contract and someone deliberately interfered with your business relationship or contract, then you may have a cause of action against that someone, even if the defenses are limited. You do not necessarily have to have a contract to file a claim for tortious interference. Because the law recognizes the economic value and significance that business relationships have in the success your company, legal safeguards exist to protect business opportunities before they even occur. This means that even without a contract, if the interfering person knew of the business relationship at the time that they interfered with it, you may have a valid claim.

Tortious Interference with a Business Relationship Claims

In Florida, to establish a claim for tortious interference with a business relationship, a plaintiff must be able to demonstrate all of the following things are true:

  • the plaintiff had a business relationship with another person or business,
  • the defendant knew about the relationship,
  • the defendant deliberately acted in a way that would cause the relationship to go bad or to end,
  • the relationship went bad or ended, and
  • the plaintiff suffered damages as a result.

Some of the tortious interference cases our experienced business litigation attorneys handle include:

  • Unfair competition & deceptive trade practices
  • Business defamation
  • Unethical conduct
  • Malicious prosecution (unfounded litigation or litigation initiated for the wrong reasons)
  • Misappropriation of trade secrets
  • Economic coercion, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Tortious Interference?

Tortious interference refers to the deliberate act of interfering with an established business relationship or contract, causing harm to one of the parties involved. This interference can lead to legal action, even if there isn’t a formal contract in place.

2. Do I Need a Formal Contract to File a Claim for Tortious Interference?

No, you don’t necessarily need a formal contract. The law recognizes the value of business relationships and offers protection for potential business opportunities. If someone knowingly interferes with an existing or potential business relationship, you may have a valid claim.

3. What Elements Must Be Proven to Establish a Tortious Interference Claim?

In Florida, to establish a claim, you must demonstrate that you had a business relationship, the defendant knew about it, acted deliberately to harm or end the relationship, the relationship suffered, and you incurred damages as a result.

4. What Types of Cases Fall Under Tortious Interference?

Tortious interference cases can include unfair competition, business defamation, unethical conduct, malicious prosecution, misappropriation of trade secrets, and economic coercion, among others.

5. Are There Defenses Available for Those Accused of Tortious Interference?

Yes, there are defenses available. For instance, if the interference was justified or if the defendant had a legitimate business reason for their actions, it might serve as a defense. It’s essential to consult with legal counsel to understand the specifics of any case.