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Interference with contractual relations

Residents and small businesses in Miami and other nearby areas of Florida may want to learn more about interference with a contract or business. Called tortious interference, this can take place when a person interferes with contracts or business relationships with the intent of causing harm. Although markets encourage competition, this type of activity is against the law.

According to experts, someone may interfere with the sale of a business. Before the finalization of the sale with a written agreement, someone may try to influence the sale or stop it.

Breaking a contract

When someone tries to influence another to break a contract, this is interference. It is an intentional act, not done accidentally. For example, a person could offer below-market prices to induce a breach. An individual could also threaten someone into violating a contract or otherwise blackmail them. Another violation would be making it impossible for the business to continue, such as a refusal to transport goods.

Courts examine the motivation

Business torts can have many faces. Did the person exert improper influence? Whether someone acted improperly with a motive is what will determine contractual interference.

The individual who interfered with the contract will be the defendant. The interference may be through blackmail, inducement or unethical practices.

The plaintiff may be someone who had force or inducement to violate a contract. Another type of plaintiff may be a party to the contract who had binding terms but lost the contract’s benefit because of interference.

What determines improper interference?

Some factors will determine if the interference is improper. These include:

  • Motive
  • Type of conduct
  • Other person’s interests
  • Interest of other people
  • Social interests in protecting contract vs. freedom of action
  • Relationship between both parties
  • Damages

Intent is important

The intention behind the behavior will receive consideration. If the defendant had improper motivation, it is a tort.

One example is if the defendant wants to punish an organization or put it out of business. He or she tries to take the other person away from the business by taking advantage of their relationship as friends. This is considered tortious interference.

Interference with contracts and business relationships may cause a business to suffer. Business is tough enough; it does not need this type of interference even if the party doing it is, or is not, a friend.