In Washington D.C., it is unlawful for a third party to intentionally interfere with a commercial contract that has been agreed upon by two other parties. Indeed, this type of misconduct is known as tortious interference. Victims of tortious interference can bring a legal claim to hold the third party liable for any damages that they have sustained because of the contract breach. The following is a brief overview of tortious interference. If you are having contract issues, contact Eric Siegel Law to speak with a Washington, D.C. business litigation lawyer.
There are two types of tort claims a plaintiff can file if he or she has suffered an injury. A negligent tort is filed when the defendant (at-fault party) owed the plaintiff (the victim) a duty of care, breached that duty of care, and that breach caused the plaintiff harm. An intentional tort is filed when the defendant intended to cause harm to the plaintiff or otherwise knew their actions would cause harm.
As a business litigation lawyer in Washington, D.C. can explain, there are two types of tortious interference claims. The first type is called interference with prospective economic advantage (“IWPEA”). There are many acts that fall under the IWPEA umbrella, including contracts. The second type is called interference with contractual relations (“IWCR”). Inducing a breach of contract falls under this type.
The Elements of Tortious Inference
Allegations that a third party tried to undermine a valid contract are not sufficient enough to establish liability. In order to prove tortious interference under the law, a Washington, D.C. business litigation lawyer must be able to prove the following five things before the court:
An Example of Tortious Interference
The following is an example of tortious interference:
John owns a widget distribution company. He sells his company to Dave. In the sales contract, John agrees he will not sell widgets anymore, agreeing he is out of the widget business. A couple of years later, John is contacted by Jim. Jim owns a widget manufacturing plant, and he talks John into distributing his widgets. John agrees, even though this is in direct violation of his contract with Dave.
Dave can file a tortious interference lawsuit against Jim because he had induced John to violate his contract with Dave. Jim would be liable for any financial damages Dave suffered from loss of business. Dave could also file a breach of contract lawsuit against John, as well.
Were You the Victim of Tortious Interference?
A skilled business litigation lawyer Washington, D.C. clients recommend from our firm can help. At Eric Siegel Law, we have extensive experience drafting and reviewing business contracts, as well as litigating contractual disputes. To set up your free business law consultation, please contact us today.