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Are Others Interfering With Your Contracts and Business Operations?

Are Others Interfering With Your Contracts and Business Operations? 

Are Others Interfering With Your Contracts and Business Operations?Competition is fierce in business. Most of the time, the competition is fair. However, in many cases, competitors or even others simply interested in harming your business, commit unlawful acts. The business litigation attorneys of Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can help. In addition to traditional unfair competition, there are other laws designed to protect you and your business from wrongful intentional acts.

We have experience going to trial on these issues and have litigated the nuances and potential pitfalls for the inexperienced.

Intentional (or “Tortious”) Interference with Economic Relations

Tortious interference with economic relations generally refers to 3 types of actions: intentional interference with contractual relations, and intentional or negligent interference with prospective economic advantage. Each of these claims is governed by California case law and the rights are enforceable.

Intentional Interference with Contractual RelationsAre Others Interfering With Your Contracts and Business Operations?

A claim for intentional interference with contractual relations most commonly involves conduct by the defendant that causes a third party to breach his or her contract with the plaintiff.

To prevail in a lawsuit for intentional interference with contractual relations, the plaintiff must prove: (1) a valid contract between the plaintiff and a third party; (2) the defendant’s knowledge of this contract; (3) the defendant’s intentional acts designed to induce a breach or disruption of the contractual relationship; (4) actual breach or disruption of the contractual relationship; and (5) resulting damage.

This claim requires the existence of an underlying enforceable contract. Where there is no contract, or the contract is unenforceable, the plaintiff will only have a claim for interference with prospective economic advantage.

Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage

Although a suit for intentional interference with prospective economic advantage generally involves the defendant’s interference with a prospective contract, liability may be based on interference with any economic relationship containing a probability of future benefits to the plaintiff, including interference with any lawful business, trade or occupation.

Similar to a claim for interference with contract, to support recovery for interference with prospective economic advantage the plaintiff must show: (1) an economic relationship between the plaintiff and some third party, with the probability of future economic benefit to the plaintiff; (2) the defendant’s knowledge of the relationship; (3) intentional acts on the part of the defendant designed to disrupt the relationship; (4) actual disruption of the relationship; and (5) economic harm to the plaintiff caused by the acts of the defendant.

With respect to the third element, a plaintiff must additionally show that the defendant engaged in conduct that was wrongful in some way other than the fact of the interference itself. An act is independently wrongful if it is unlawful, that is, if it is proscribed by some constitutional, statutory, regulatory, common law, or other determinable legal standard. Common examples of independently wrongful acts supporting a cause of action for intentional interference with prospective economic advantage include conduct constituting fraud, libel or misappropriation of trade secrets.

Negligent Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage

The tort of negligent interference with prospective economic advantage is established where a plaintiff demonstrates that: (1) an economic relationship existed between the plaintiff and a third party which contained a reasonably probable future economic benefit to plaintiff; (2) the defendant knew of the existence of the relationship and was aware or should have been aware that if it did not act with due care its actions would interfere with this relationship; (3) the defendant was negligent; and (4) such negligence caused damage to plaintiff in that the relationship was actually interfered with.

Damages You Can Recover

Damages for tortious interference with economic relations may include recovery for all resulting harm, including expenses, mental distress, and damage to business reputation. Punitive damages may also be recovered for intentional interference if the defendant acted with malice, fraud, or oppression. Injunctive relief is available to restrain the threat of future interference with economic relations.

Getting Legal Help

Call us today toll free at 714-505-300 to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

Brown & Charbonneau, LLP represents individuals as well as large and small companies in cases involving all forms of tortious interference with economic relations. If you are involved in a tortious interference claim or would like to learn about your rights and how to protect your business, we can provide you with the information you need.