Search Site
Ask about offsite General Counsel services Appointments 365 – 7 days a week 866-696-2033

What is Tortious Interference and What Are its Consequences?

In the competitive world of business, unfair and disruptive tactics can sometimes come into play. Fortunately, there is a legal cause of action by which businesses can protect themselves from such conduct, allowing them to seek compensation for financial losses caused by what is known as tortious interference.

Simply put, tortious interference is a civil wrong that occurs when a third party intentionally disrupts a valid business relationship or contract, leading to damages for the aggrieved party. For example, Company A has a signed contract with a critical supplier. If Company B, a competitor, pressures or tricks the supplier into breaking the contract with Company A, a claim of tortious interference might be viable.

There are two main types of tortious interference claims in business litigation:

  • Tortious interference with a contract — This occurs when a third party, aware of an existing contract, induces a party to breach its terms. This inducement can take various forms, like offering better deals, spreading misinformation about the other party or even resorting to threats or intimidation.
  • Tortious interference with a business relationship — This is broader and applies to situations where no formal contract exists, but a legitimate business relationship or a prospective economic advantage (business expectancy) is disrupted by a third party’s actions. This could involve poaching a key client, sabotaging negotiations or spreading malicious rumors about a business.

For a successful tortious interference claim, the interference must be intentional. The alleged wrongdoer, referred to as the tortfeasor, must have known about the existing contract or business relationship beforehand. The burden of proving this intent lies with the party suing for damages. However, courts often consider circumstantial evidence, like the timing and nature of the third party’s actions, to infer intent.

Furthermore, the suing party must also prove that the alleged tortfeasor’s actions directly caused them harm. This could involve lost profits due to a breached contract, missed business opportunities due to a disrupted relationship or reputational damage caused by malicious interference.

Whether you’re a business owner concerned about a competitor’s tactics or facing a tortious interference claim yourself, a skilled business litigation attorney can analyze the facts of your situation and determine the strongest legal strategy, be it asserting a tortious interference claim or mounting a robust defense.

Law Offices of Donald W. Hudspeth P.C. in Phoenix, Arizona takes a practical approach to litigating tortious interference cases. To schedule a consultation, call our firm today at 866-696-2033 or contact us online.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Donald W. Hudspeth Attorney Photo
Donald W. Hudspeth
Principal Attorney

Attorney Donald W. Hudspeth has more than twenty years’ experience practicing corporate and business law. Before attending law school, Mr. Hudspeth held a stock brokers license at the age of 21 and owned his own business at the age of 23. He was a business law professor at Arizona State University, West Campus, and has conducted classes and seminars for a number of higher institutions and organizations. Mr. Hudspeth has published two books on law and is the founder of the radio programs Law on the Edge and Law Talk.

Mark S. Hamilton Attorney Photo
Mark S. Hamilton

About Attorney Mark S. Hamilton has experience handling all aspects of civil and commercial litigation in federal, state, and tribal courts at the trial and appellate levels. Practice Areas Business litigation Commercial litigation Education University Of Hawaii Wm. S. Richardson School Of Law, Juris Doctor - 2002 University Of Hawaii, Master Of Arts in Asian…

  • Preeminent AV Rated
    Client Distinction Award
    Bar Register
  • AV Rating
    The Arizona Republic
  • Arizona Sate University
    Top Rated Lawyers
    Client Champion
  • McAfee Secure
    Lawyers Of Distinction
    2020 issue of AZ Business Leaders

Our firm now offers a scholarship program for ASU first and second year law students.

The scholarship is awarded to students for academic merit with an interest in business and business law. Candidates may have majored in fields other than business, have taken a break between college and law school, or have had exceptional life experiences.

Read More

Pay your bills online

Use our easy-to-use and secure online payment feature to pay your bill. We accept all major credit cards.

  • "I would recommend Mr. Hudspeth unequivocally. Not only is he an outstanding business attorney, he also provided me with access to a divorce attorney. Thanks to his skill, and resources available outside the Phoenix law family, I was successful in challenging a “family law” mediation that was particularly and grossly unfair." - Chandler, Arizona Private Individual

  • "Thank you for the work you have done in creating these documents. It is always a pleasure dealing with this firm!" - J. P.

  • "An excellent response. Masterfully prepared. Thank you." - El Paso, Texas Real Estate Investor

  • "Glad about meeting with Don. Felt so much better, better than in 15 years. Really appreciated the conversation." - RH, Phoenix Manufacturing Company

Contact us

Quick Contact Form