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What You Need to Know About Tortious Interference

Law Offices of Jerry J Goldstein April 10, 2023

Tortious interference written in an open book and gavelA fundamental part of conducting business, contracts define and help maintain relationships among the involved parties. When one party breaks or breaches their contractual promise, it can lead to serious legal issues. And when an uninvolved person knowingly harms your contractual relationship, you have the right to pursue recovery for any economic damages their tortious interference caused you. 

At the Law Office of Jerry J Goldstein, our business litigation attorney offers reliable and focused counsel. We proudly serve clients throughout the Coachella Valley, including Palm Desert, California. No matter your dispute, it’s our mission to help your business succeed. 

What is Tortious Interference?  

Tortious interference occurs when someone intentionally damages someone’s contractual relationship with a third party. Tort law allows a plaintiff to seek damages from a defendant who intentionally interfered with their business relationship.  

For instance, tortious interference could include a competitor spreading false information about a plaintiff’s products or services, or an individual persuading a third party to break a contract with the plaintiff. 

Types of Tortious Interference in California 

In California, there are three types of tortious interference. 

Interference With Existing Contracts 

This situation occurs when a third party intentionally interferes with a contractual relationship between two parties, causing one or both parties to breach the contract. The interference must be intentional, meaning that the third party must have had knowledge of the contractual relationship and an intention to disrupt it. 

Interference With Prospective Economic Advantage 

This type of tortious interference occurs when a third party interferes with an economic relationship that is not yet a formal contract but has the potential to become one. The interference must be intentional and must cause the economic relationship to fail to materialize. 

Negligent Interference With Prospective Economic Advantage 

This issue occurs when a third party’s unintentional actions interfere with a potential economic relationship, causing it to fail to materialize. The interference must result from the third party’s negligence or carelessness rather than intentional actions. 

It’s important to note that in all three types of tortious interference, the plaintiff must prove that they suffered some form of damages due to the interference. Additionally, in cases involving interference with prospective economic advantage, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the potential economic relationship was both probable and reasonably certain to occur if not for the interference. 

Proving Tortious Interference 

To successfully prove a claim for tortious interference, you must prove the following elements: 

  • Existence of a valid contractual or economic relationship. The plaintiff must show that they had a valid contractual or economic relationship with another party or a prospective relationship that had the potential to become a formal contract or economic relationship. 

  • Knowledge of the relationship. The defendant must have known about the contractual or economic relationship or the potential relationship. 

  • Intentional interference. The defendant must have intentionally interfered with the contractual or economic relationship or the potential relationship with the purpose of disrupting or terminating it. 

  • Actual interference. The plaintiff must show that the defendant’s interference caused the contractual or economic relationship to be breached, terminated, or failed to materialize. 

  • Damages. The plaintiff must show that they suffered damages as a result of the interference. Damages can include lost profits, business opportunities, and other economic losses.

In cases involving negligent interference with prospective economic advantage, as the plaintiff, you must prove that the defendant’s interference was due to negligence or carelessness rather than intentional actions. 

Contact Us for Skilled Representation 

Are you entangled in a case of tortious interference? Protect your business and best interests with our help. At the Law Offices Jerry J Goldstein, we are ready to listen to your story and fight for your best solution. Call our office today to speak with a professional California business litigation attorney and start seeking justice.  

We represent clients throughout the Coachella Valley including Palm Desert, California, as well as communities in and around Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties, among others.