Interference With Economic Relationship
Overall, the various forms of interference with economic relationship that the law protects, as well as the various types of harm associated with such economic relationships that the law imposes legal liability would be too numerous to list. The types of business torts which frequently occur and would fall under this unfair competition practice are breach of contract claims and interference with prospective advantage or interference with economic relationships.
The specific legal elements of interference with economic relationships have usually required the following:
- The existence of a valid business relationship or expectancy of a relationship, with the reasonable probability of future economic benefit to the party that was injured;
- Knowledge of the business relationship or expectancy on the part of the party causing the injury or damage;
- Economic damage due to the intentional interference with the business relationship;
- A reasonable certainty that, except for the improper conduct of the party causing the injury, the party that was injured or damaged would have entered into the business relationship or continued the business relationship; and
- Interference of the party causing the injury or damage was intentional, as opposed to negligent.
Defenses to a Tortious Interference Claim
The following are complete defenses to a tortious interference claim:
- The defendant did not know about the contract.
- The defendant did not intend for its conduct to interfere with the contract.
- The contract would have been breached even without the interfering conduct.
- A valid contract was not in effect when the defendant’s conduct occurred.
- The defendant had legal justification or privilege for its actions.
- Breach did not occur.
These negate necessary elements of a tortious interference claim
Damages for Economic Tortious Interference
Damages for a successful tortious interference with contract claim are economic. The damages are calculated to reasonably compensate the plaintiff for the loss suffered due to the defendant’s interfering conduct.
The settlement of a breach of contract action does not necessarily preclude recovery on a tortious interference claim involving the same contract.
Competition is an expected, common part of business. However, if you believe that someone is improperly interfering with your business relationships, then contact the Law Office of Nnamdi S. Jackson today.