Competition among entrepreneurs can be fierce, but there is a line between fair competition for business and tortious interference: an actionable offense in court.
Of course, in business, parties who enter into a contract have the right not to be interfered with by third-parties. This leads to harm in several ways, aside from merely interfering with the plans of its parties. Third-parties that interfere in the performance of the valid, contractually binding obligations of others are subject to liability under the theory of Tortious Interference. To prevail in an action for tortious interference, one must fulfill these elements: 1) the existence of a valid contract between two or more parties, 2) defendant’s knowledge of that contract, 3) defendant’s intentional and improper cause of a breach to that contract, and 4) resulting damages.
All of this isn’t to say that outside circumstances can’t legally have an effect on a contract: far from it… Interference can happen in a number of ways. Tortious interference is common in actions to enforce noncompete, exclusivity, licensing, non-solicitation, non-circumvention, and non-disclosure agreements. When someone attempts to make their own deal with a party to the financial detriment of another party, for instance, that’s tortious interference. Importantly, a defendant does not need to have actually benefitted from the interference to be liable for tortious interference.
It is common for a plaintiff to seek an injunction in a tortious interference case, which prevents the defendant from causing further damage and maintains the “status quo.” In order to obtain an injunction, the plaintiff must show: 1) likelihood of success on the merits, 2) balance of equities in their favor, and 3) that not restricting the defendant will cause “irreparable harm” to the plaintiff. Injunctive relief is difficult to obtain. However, it can be a powerful tool that can restrict your adversary, preventing them from continuing to cause damage while the parties fight in court. Further, the success or failure of a motion for injunctive relief can make or break settlement negotiations.
We represent individuals and firms in both defense and prosecution of all manner of tortious interference cases. To learn more, call Warren Law Group at (888) 954-7687 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation regarding your case. You can trust WLG’s experienced legal team to handle your case with the highest degree of respect, expertise, and professionalism.
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