What is tortious interference?

As a business owner in New York, you depend on your company’s contracts to keep things running smoothly. Although you may have noncompete agreements or other protections in place, your company could still be vulnerable. If someone does come between you and a client, vendor or other company you have a contractual relationship with, it can seriously hurt your bottom line. According to Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute, you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages if this type of situation, known as tortious interference, arises.

When you take an unethical person to court over the harm he or she has done to your company, you want to be sure of your position so you do not waste your time and lose even more money. As the plaintiff, you have the burden of proof in the case, and there are four things that have to be evident:

  •          Your contract was valid.
  •          The defendant knew that you had a valid contract.
  •          He or she intended to do you harm through purposeful and improper actions.
  •          Your company suffered financially as a direct result of those actions.

The defendant does not necessarily have to provide any evidence of justification of the actions. If you are able to prove all four of these things, the judge may find the defendant liable for the damages that losing the contract or the business relationship cost you. This information may be helpful as you consider whether you should pursue litigation for tortious interference, but it should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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