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Understanding tortious interference with contracts

The business world can be a tough place in which to operate, with the competitive spirit sometimes prompting entities to push the envelope and verge into legally unacceptable conduct. While such scenarios are certainly frustrating to Florida entrepreneurs and business owners of all descriptions, the good news is that there are options for recourse.

Defining tortious interference with contractual relations

The concept of intentional or improper meddling with the contractual or business dealings of other parties in order to cause economic losses is known as tortious interference. Such conduct can rise to the level of an actionable tort capable of subjecting the wrongdoer to civil liability.

There are various ways in which a party might commit this distinct type of business tort, including:

  • Interfering with negotiations in advance of a sale
  • Urging cessation of a business relationship
  • Threatening or blackmailing to induce a breach of an existing contract
  • Engaging in conduct that makes contractual performance impossible

Determining whether a party’s actions do indeed amount to tortious interference with contractual relations involves an assessment of a range of factors, such as:

  • The motives of the defendant
  • The type of conduct at issue
  • The distinct, likely competing interests of the litigants
  • The relationship between the conduct and the business interruption
  • The demonstrable financial harm suffered

Given the incredibly high stakes involved in so many business transactions, it is vital for parties to a contractual agreement to have a strong grasp of which types of competitive activity from outsiders are permissible and which types can give rise to valid claims for compensation. The rough-and-tumble world of business can offer tremendous upside to those who succeed in it and understanding the parameters of appropriate conduct is essential to long-term survival.