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When is a third party's behavior tortious interference?

Georgia business people most likely already know that competition is the lynchpin of business operations in the United States. Competition provides better products, services and prices to consumers. However, it is possible for someone to go too far when competing with another company. If so, that party could be guilty of tortious interference.

When a Georgia business owner believes that a third party intentionally interfered with his or her business, a civil action may be filed. Nevertheless, certain elements must be present in order to prevail in a tortious interference claim. The person accused must have known that a contract existed between the plaintiff and another party, intended to interfere with that contract and intentionally forced one of the parties to breach that contract in a manner that caused the plaintiff to suffer financial damages.

Once knowledge and intent are proved, it will be necessary to show that the interference actually occurred and caused the plaintiff to incur actual damages. Even if the party who engineered the breach of contract believed that the contract was not enforceable, that is not a defense. However, if it is shown that the interference was an accident or was otherwise unintentional, there was no tortious interference.

Every case is different, however, and this article is simply a broad overview of the elements of tortious interference -- not legal advice. Georgia business owners have the right to protect their livelihood, and if it is discovered that someone intentionally harmed a company, a tortious interference claim may be warranted. If the court is satisfied that a third party knowingly caused the business to incur damages in accordance with the requirements above, it may consider an award of monetary damages and other appropriate judicial relief.

Source: FindLaw, "Tortious Interference", , Aug. 22, 2014

Source: FindLaw, "Tortious Interference", , Aug. 22, 2014

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