What is Tortious Interference?

Tortious Interference refers to when a person or entity who was not party to a contract, deliberately and wrongfully interferes with a contractual or a business relationship.  This tort typically occurs when a party deliberately acts in a way that will cause a breach of contract by another. There are however more than one type of tortious interference, each type carrying its own elements its own particular elements that must be proven:

  • Tortious interference with contracts occurs when the intervening party wrongly tries to interfere when the other parties owe contractual obligations to each other.
  • Tortious interference with economic advantage (a.k.a. "Tortious interference with business relationships") occurs when a party wrongly interferes with a business relationship that is not governed by a contract.  This may occur is the relationship is on the verge of being solidified but has not yet.

Unlike a breach of contract claim, tortious interference is a “tort" which is subject to state laws intended to protect against personal wrongs being committed.


Common Examples of Tortious Interference

  • A product distribution company induces the sales representatives of the local distributor to breach their contracts with the local distributor and enter into contracts directly with the product distribution company to sell the products for it, essentially cutting out the local distributor. 
  • A vendor offers unreasonably low prices to a buyer, resulting in the buyer breaching a contract with another vendor. 
  • An owner hires a contractor to perform work. Wanting the contract, another contractor reaches out to the owner to bad mouth the hired contractor. The contractor originally hired is terminated. 
  • A small business hires an employee of another company knowing the employee has an employment agreement which restricts where the employee can work.

Damages & Remedies for Tortious Interference

Monetary damages are the most likely remedy for tortious interference including compensatory and possibly consequential damages.  In other words, you may be able to get compensation for any lost profits on any contract you lost because of the interference.

Equitable Relief: Often if the tortious interference might lead to the loss of a significant account, customer or employee, a large or small business may seek emergency injunctive relief from a court in the form of a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to prevent the continued interference in the future.  This drastic step is sometimes needed to save the business.

Speak to a New York and New Jersey Tortious Interference Lawyer Today

Damages awarded for those harmed by a tort are based on losses suffered and can include punitive damages as well. Thus, if your large or small business is being affected by outsiders, you should consult with a New York and New Jersey business dispute lawyer to understand your rights.

Call 929-262-1101 or schedule a free case evaluation today to discuss Russo Law's business disputes and alternative dispute resolution services.