Arthur R. Lehman, L.L.C.

Elements of a tortious interference claim

When New York residents enter into contracts -- be they of employment or of business -- they assume they are the only parties involved in the contractual negotiations and that when the contract is completed and executed, the parties are now bound to one another for the duration of that contract. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and a contract can be broken for many reasons. One of those reasons is when a third party interferes with the contract.

Known as a business tort, intentional interference with contractual relations is an actionable claim if certain elements can be proven. This means that if someone interferes with the plaintiff's contractual relations with another party, they can be taken to court in an intentional interference claim.

First of all, it is important to note that the burden of proving the interference lies on the plaintiff -- the defendant does not have to justify the person's actions. The first thing the plaintiff must prove is that there was a valid contract between the two parties and that the accused, the defendant, knew about the existence of the contract. Thirdly, the plaintiff must prove that the accused acted improperly and lastly, that the plaintiff was injured by the defendant's actions.

When people are wronged, their first reaction may be to hold the wronging party accountable, but in reality, there are a number of legal steps that must be taken in order to succeed in an intentional interference claim. When it comes to business torts, an experienced attorney may be able to guide injured parties through the process of filing for a tortious interference with contract claim.

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