Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

Elements of a tortious interference claim

As most people across the country know, coming to an agreement with another person can sometimes be very difficult. In business matters when minute details are incredibly important and different businessmen are trying to insert provisions for their profit, it is even more difficult. When New York businessmen finally agree on terms are about to formalize their agreement, it is incredibly frustrating when another company, in the name of competition, steps in and interferes with their pre-contractual agreement. In order to bar such tortious interference, courts may be able to step in.

The business tort of tortious interference comes in different forms, but the most common is probably tortious interference with contractual relations. This could be by offering prices below the market price or make it impossible for the person to continue performing, such as refusing to transport goods. In addition to this, someone could also blackmail another party into violating the contract.

To prove the claim of intentional interference, the burden is on the plaintiff rather than the defendant. This means the plaintiff must prove that there was a valid contract in existence and that the defendant had knowledge of the contract. Also, it must be shown that the defendant acted intentionally and improperly and that the defendant's actions injured the plaintiff.

Proving or disproving these elements may require dealing with complicated legalities and since it is in businessmen's interests to resolve these business disputes as soon as possible, it may be in their best interest to consult an experienced professional that can provide legal assistance, which this post cannot.

Source: Legal Information Institute, "Intentional Interference with contractual relations," Accessed July 7, 2015

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