A business tort is an intentional or negligent wrongful act committed against a business. Unlike most actionable offenses, business torts are not committed against persons or property. The damages are to intangible assets, such as economic interests or business relationships.
Business tort cases include all types of business relationships, including corporations, partnerships, LLCs, and contracts. There are a number of different theories under which a business tort case can be brought.
Tortious interference permits a claim for damages against a defendant who wrongfully interferes with the plaintiff’s legitimate contractual or business relationships. The elements of tortious interference include:
- Valid contract or business relationship between the plaintiff and a third party
- Defendant’s knowledge of the contract or relationship
- A wrongful act by the defendant that interferes with the contract or relationship
- Actual interference with or disruption of the contract or relationship
- Resulting damages to the plaintiff
Examples of tortious interference include convincing a competitor’s employee to breach an employment contract or persuading a customer to break a contract with a competitor.
Fraudulent misrepresentation, also known as fraud or deceit, provides a cause of action against a dishonest defendant. The plaintiff must establish that:
- The defendant made a false representation
- The representation was known to be false or made recklessly without knowledge of its truth
- The plaintiff relied on the representation
- The plaintiff was damaged as a result of the misrepresentation
Examples of fraudulent misrepresentation include a business providing false financial statements or failing to disclose a material defect in something offered for sale.
Unfair competition laws are designed to protect consumers and businesses from deceptive business practices. Similar to trademark and copyright infringement, unfair competition precludes acts meant to confuse consumers as to the source of a product. Unfair competition also prohibits other deceptive practices, including false advertising, “bait and switch” selling tactics, and theft of trade secrets.
At DBJ, we have tort lawyers with extensive experience handling every type of business tort case. If your business has been damaged as a result of the wrongful acts of a competitor, please call DBJ today at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.