Recovering Damages for Tortious Interference With Your Business
In the course of doing business, fair competition is to be expected, but you may at some point encounter deliberate attempts to interfere with your contracts or business relationships. Intentional interference can inflict significant harm that may take years to repair. Fortunately, the law provides you with the ability to bring a tort action to recoup damages for your losses.
Tortious interference occurs when a third party intentionally or wrongfully attempts to disrupt someone’s business or contractual relationship and causes them harm. A business that has been harmed can seek damages for (1) tortious interference with contract or (2) tortious interference with prospective economic advantage. The latter type of tortious interference involves either a business relationship or a future business transaction that is expected. Tortious interference with contracts can occur in various ways, such as causing a party to breach their contract or preventing them from performing their duties under the contract.
To prevail in a cause of action against a third party who has interfered with a contract or business relationship, a plaintiff must prove the following:
- A valid contract or a business relationship existed.
- The defendant was aware of the contract or relationship.
- An actual interference occurred.
- The act that caused the interference was intentional.
- The business experienced damages or loss as a result.
As in a breach of contract case, a plaintiff alleging tortious interference can recover damages for foreseeable economic losses proximately caused by the defendant’s action. These include the following:
- Monetary damages, which compensate for harm directly resulting from the interference
- Lost profits damages, which cover the loss of economic benefits to the business due to the act of interference
- Expectation damages, which are meant to put the plaintiff in as good a position as if the interference had never occurred
In addition, because this is a tort action, the plaintiff may recover damages not available in contract cases, such as:
- Emotional distress damages, which compensate business owners for the psychological impact the interference has had on them
- Reputational damages, which are compensation for harm done to a business’s good will and credit rating
A plaintiff alleging tortious interference should anticipate that defenses will be raised, such as fair competition, qualified privilege, the contract’s invalidity or the absence of harm.
If you’ve experienced harm to your business or to yourself personally due to someone else’s disruptive actions, you should speak with an attorney as soon as you can to avoid losing the chance to collect damages. An experienced Kansas business litigation attorney can help you obtain the damages you are entitled to. Your attorney can also advise you about steps you can take to protect your company from further harm, such as by implementing non-disclosure agreements, securing sensitive information and preventing unauthorized disclosures by employees.
Peggs Wheeler, LC in Wichita, Kansas represents clients in all types of business litigation, including lawsuits alleging tortious interference. Call us at 316-512-7853 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.