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David H. Schwartz June 2, 2020

In every market, healthy competition is encouraged. It helps drive innovation. However, a competitive behavior that involves improper or tortious conduct can be unlawful. If a non-contracting person wrongfully interferes with your business relationships (handshake or formal agreement), with an intent to cause economic harm, you may have tortious interference claims against the person. 

Attorney David Schwartz can assess your situation and discuss your options regarding tortious interference claims in California. The Law Offices of David H. Schwartz, INC. is proud to represent business owners and entrepreneurs in San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Jose, Alameda County, Oakland, and the San Francisco Bay Area of California.

Brief Summary of Tortious Interference

If a non-contracting person or third party disrupts any of your business relationships using unethical means, you are within your rights to take legal action against the person in the form of intentional interference with contractual relations. A tortious interference lawsuit allows you to sue the non-contracting person and recover damages for intentional or negligent acts that caused economic harm.

To establish that tortious interference occurred, you must prove that:

  • There was a valid contract between you and the other party.

  • The defendant (or third party) knew that a contract existed.

  • The defendant’s conduct or actions were unjustified and prompted a breach of contract which prevented performance or made the performance more difficult.

  • The defendant had an intention to disrupt the performance of the contract or agreement.

  • You or your business and contract relationship were harmed.

  • The defendant’s conduct was a significant factor that caused you or your business harm or damage.

If you are successful at providing the above, you may be able to recover fair financial compensation for damages that were suffered.

Types of Tortious Interference Claims in California

Tortious interference claims can be negligent or intentional. In the state of California, there are three types of tortious interference claims. These include:

Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage (IWPEA)

A lawsuit for intentional interference with prospective economic advantage usually involves the defendant’s interference with a potential contract. The plaintiff may base liability on interference with any economic relationship that may contain future benefits.

Negligent Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage

A lawsuit for negligent interference with prospective economic advantage is much like intentional interference but in this case,  the plaintiff may base liability on the fact that the defendant knew or should have known about the economic relationship, and that their actions would be disruptive.

Intentional Interference with Contractual Relations (IWCR)

A lawsuit for intentional interference with contractual relations usually involves the defendant’s conduct or actions, causing the third party to breach their contract. To prove claims, the plaintiff must show that an enforceable contract existed.

Damages Available

Depending on each unique situation and the surrounding circumstances, damages can vary. The damages you may recover for tortious interference include:

  • Compensatory Damages: This serves as compensation or recovery for all resulting harm. These include expenses, lost profits, damage to business reputation, destruction of the business relationship, lost potential contractors, and mental distress.

  • Punitive Damages: The plaintiff may also recover punitive damages, which are assessed to punish the defendant, for intentional interference in the event that the defendant acted with fraud, malice, or oppression.

  • Injunctive Relief: This is a court order that prohibits or restrains the threat of potential interference with economic relations.

Hiring a knowledgeable commercial litigation attorney can increase your chances of getting fair compensation to cover your damages.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

The consequences of interfering with business relationships can be devastating to both individuals and companies. If you’ve been a victim of tortious interference, you may be able to file a claim against the party responsible. You need to retain an experienced corporate litigation attorney immediately to protect your rights.

For more than 45 years, Attorney David H. Schwartz has provided strong representation for clients in commercial litigation, negotiation, and arbitration matters. Mr. Schwartz will protect your rights zealously, establish claims, and help you pursue compensatory damages to cover expenses, lost profits, mental distress, and destruction of the business relationship.

Also, if you have been sued for tortious interference, Mr. Schwartz can defend your rights vigorously, prove your innocence, and attempt to help get the charges against you dropped. With David Schwartz on your side, you can anticipate the best possible outcome in your tortious interference litigation.

Experienced Business Litigation Attorney in San Francisco, California

If an individual unethically disrupts any of your business relationships, contact the Law Offices of David H. Schwartz, INC. immediately. Mr. Schwartz will assess your situation, review your case, and fight to protect your rights. Mr. Schwartz proudly serves clients in San Francisco, San Jose, Alameda County, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Oakland, and the surrounding communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Call him today to schedule a free consultation.