Contracts are key to reliable, profitable business relationships and indeed the economy as a whole. Without contracts, little business would get done because nobody would trust anyone else to keep their promises. Because of how critical contracts are to the business world, the law goes to great lengths to protect them. One way this is done is by preventing third parties from unjustly interfering with contractual relationships. This has led to the creation of a cause of action known as tortious interference with contract.
You may need legal assistance to pursue one of these lawsuits against another party. Or you may be accused of interfering with someone else’s contractual relationship. Either way, having skilled legal counsel on your side will make a difference. Count on the dedicated New York business law attorneys of Rosenbaum & Taylor.
What Are the Elements of a Tortious Interference With Contract Claim?
The law frowns upon someone trying to induce a breach of contract. Actively engaging in such conduct can give rise to a lawsuit against the wrongful party. To prove a tortious interference with contract case in New York, the following elements must be shown.
The Existence of a Valid Contract
The plaintiff and a third party must have a legal, enforceable contract between them. The defendant will usually not be an employee or agent of either the plaintiff or the other contract party. Rather, the defendant acts as an outsider to the contractual relationship.
The Defendant Knew About the Contract
It must be proven that the defendant actually knew the contract existed. If neither party made the defendant aware of the contract, this element will be difficult to establish.
The Defendant Improperly Attempted to Cause a Breach
This means that, without justification, the defendant intentionally sought to bring about a breach. The interference must be wrongful, which is not an easy element to meet. Generally, a court will require evidence that the defendant used unfair, dishonest, or wrongful means to induce a breach.
Actual Breach of the Contract Took Place
As a result of the defendant’s actions, there must have been an actual breach. Such action causes harm to the plaintiff, who will then quantify its losses. This leads to the final element.
Damages Resulted From the Breach
Such damages will usually be monetary. A court will consider the pecuniary benefit the plaintiff would have enjoyed but for the breach. What would the plaintiff have gained from an undisturbed contract, if everyone had followed its terms?
How Our Firm Can Represent You
Our New York business law attorneys can explain the above elements as they relate to your case. We understand the elements that must be proven by the plaintiff, who bears the burden. If you are the plaintiff in a tortious interference with contract lawsuit, we will investigate the circumstances surrounding the breach. We will use discovery and other means to obtain evidence and begin building a case.
We will do the same for you if you’re the defendant while holding the plaintiff responsible for proving each element. Where the evidence makes it possible, we will attack each element of the plaintiff’s case. If the plaintiff cannot prevail on all points we will demand a jury verdict in your favor.
It may also be possible to settle the case outside of court. Regardless of which side you’re on, an experienced New York business lawyer can negotiate a settlement in your favor. This can save considerable time, money, and hassle by avoiding a trial.
Dedicated Legal Counsel for Your Business Needs
Whether you are the plaintiff or defendant in a tortious interference with contract matter, count on Rosenbaum & Taylor. We understand the importance of contracts and we understand the New York laws that govern them. Contact our team today to learn more.