Steps You Can Take When Another Business Interferes With Your Business
In today’s competitive business market, businesses are vying for lucrative contracts. What happens when another business interferes with your lucrative contract? You may hire a business lawyer and sue them for interfering with economic prospective.
You can sue them for intentional interference with your prospective business advantage if the other business – let’s call it BAD CORP – disrupts or diverts the business relationship by improper methods which fall outside the boundaries of fair competition.
What are the elements of Intentional Interference With Prospective Economic Advantage?
A cause of action exists for intentional interference with another’s prospective business advantage if the defendant disrupts or diverts the business relationship of another by improper methods which fall outside the boundaries of fair competition.
Existing Prospective Business Relationship
You must show an existing business relationship or the existence of a “prospective business relationship.”
In attempting to prove a prospective business relationship, the “interference with the market” theory is speculative and insufficient as a matter of law.
A podiatrist failed to allege an existing business relationship and, thus, stated no cause of action against the operator of a medical building who induced others not to lease space to the podiatrist.
An expectancy in obtaining a government license to do business was not sufficient because it was not a commercial dealing.
Prospective Business Advantage
You must show a “reasonable expectation of economic advantage which would otherwise have accrued to you. There must have been a “probability of future economic benefit” from a business relationship, which means more than a mere “hope” or “desire.”
It must have been “reasonably probable” that the economic advantage would have been realized but for the interference. If a compelling public policy is at stake, the court may permit a greater degree of speculative advantage.
Injurious interference occurs through an intentional disruption or diversion of the business relationship of another. The loss of potential future referrals and contacts was not sufficient to constitute injurious interference.
You must show that injurious interference did, in fact, occur. As a safeguard against intruding on lawful competition, the act or conduct must be wrongful by some measure beyond the fact of the interference itself. BAD CORP must have engaged in wrongful conduct, separate from the interference itself, that falls outside the boundaries of fair competition.
The conduct must violate a statute or other regulation or a recognized rule of common law or an established standard of a trade or profession. The plaintiff has the burden of pleading and proving that the defendant’s conduct was independently wrongful and not privileged; the defendant no longer has the burden of proving in an affirmative defense that his conduct was privileged.
Wrongful conduct may be the use of unlawful means or means otherwise lawful but without justification. Transactions creating security interests in tort claims are not unlawful per se and not “wrongful” for purposes of the tort of interference with prospective economic advantage.
Knowledge and Intent
Bad CORP must have known of and intended to interfere with another’s prospective business advantage. You must show that the interfering business conduct was designed to disrupt the business relationship. The court may infer the intent to interfere from a defendant’s intentional performance of an act substantially certain to result in interference.
You must show that BAD CORP caused your business to sustain money damages. Damages must not be speculative; there must be a foreseeable harm to the plaintiff caused or to be caused by the interference.
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