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What is tortious interference?

| Dec 6, 2018 | Business Litigation

If you own a business in Texas, you understand the importance of staying competitive in the market. While competition is welcome, there are certain practices that can improperly interfere with a business and its ability to make money. When this occurs, the business can sue for tortious interference.

According to FindLaw, interference can occur in a number of ways that result in economic harm, but a broken contract with a third party is the most common. This includes persuading someone to violate the contract and offering prices that are below market. In order for tortious interference to be valid, there must be motivation by the perpetrator to intentionally cause harm as opposed to causing issues negligently. In this type of interference, the plaintiff bringing forth the lawsuit may be the business owner him/herself or the party of whom the defendant persuaded to violate the contract.

The Chron discusses other components of tortious interference. It may be possible to sue if another competitor persuades one of your employees to move over and work for him or her, but this only works for contracted employees, not those who work on an at-will basis.

The party who sues for interference must be able to prove economic harm. This can be tricky because you have to show direct correlation of the action by the defendant and loss of profits. If you can prove tortious interference, damages may come in the form of actual loss or expected losses. If this interference led to emotional distress, the court may also award punitive damages.