Businesses make decisions to better their bottom line daily. But sometimes, business isn’t all business. Intentional business torts are done with malicious or careless intent to harm another entity or person. The person or entity carrying out the harm (also called the tortfeasor) seeks the consequences of their actions or at least knows that certain consequences are likely to result from their actions.
Businesses or sole proprietors that have been injured financially by the willful, reckless, negligent, or otherwise wrongful actions of the tortfeasor are entitled to sue for damages, including a monetary award or orders issued by the court to cease certain unlawful activities. Business tort claims can ask for damages for losses incurred in the past, present, or future, as projected. Losses can also be tangible, affecting profits and assets, or intangible, affecting relationships or reputation.
Intentional business torts can happen against persons, against property or against a person’s or entity’s economic interests. Some examples of each include:
One of the most commonly understood types of business torts is fraud. However, committing fraud does not always mean that a party made a false statement. It can also mean that a party intentionally omitted crucial information. In Business, it is considered fraud if there was either a lie or omission of facts to have a third-party make a non-fully informed decision.
Victims of fraud can recover a variety of different types of damages. For instance, a transaction induced through fraud can potentially be voided and, if the fraud victim loses money, the money may be recoverable through legal action. Fraud victims may also be able to recover punitive damages
In instances where a business tort has occurred, sometimes it is by more than just an individual. If multiple parties are involved in committing fraud, then conspiracy charges can also be filed. Whenever two or more parties act together unlawfully it is a conspiracy, and could easily happen in combination with many types of business torts.
In most cases, conspiracy occurs in combination with a separate tort, such as fraud mentioned above. For example, two or more companies may engage in a price-fixing scheme in order to drive a competitor out of business, or a majority of shareholders may collude to force out a minority shareholder.
In a civil conspiracy, each conspirator is liable for the torts of other co-conspirators.
Reputation is everything, especially in business. If someone makes false or damaging statements against you or your company, you can sue for defamation to recover losses incurred by the disparaging comments (i.e. clients deterred from doing business with you due to derogatory statements they believe to be true).
Word-of-mouth and published statements can both qualify as defamatory actions. Fake product reviews or trade libel can cause potential customers to avoid doing business with you. Additionally, someone discouraging other professionals from engaging in business with you due to false allegations against you is called commercial disparagement.
If it’s false, it’s intentionally harmful and likely actionable. But if it’s true, although damaging, it’s part of normal business.
Civil theft allows the victim deprived of their property the opportunity to get financial restitution to cover the monetary value of their losses. Criminal penalties might also apply, but they will do little to help make the victim whole. Civil theft suits not only reimburse the victims for actual losses, but also often enables them to receive attorney’s fees or additional compensation for their suffering.
Conversion slightly differs from civil theft in that it’s a wrongful assertion of ownership over property rather than simply depriving the victim of their ownership. Conversion can apply to tangible and intangible property, such as a percentage of interest in a company. Theft of trade secrets is another example of a conversion claim, where a person or entity uses confidential or proprietary information belonging to a company for their own benefit and without the company’s approval.
Contracts are commonplace in business, and partnerships or business relationships are important for growth and collaboration. But when one party unlawfully interferes with the contract or business relationship of another party, you might have a tortious interference claim. They might blackmail, intimidate, threaten, persuade, obstruct, or otherwise encourage or force someone to break their promises or ties to you and your business causing you economic harm.
To prove tortious interference, you must show the following:
Business tort claims are complex and challenging, often covering multiple areas of law and misconduct, including business law, contracts, personal injuries, negligence, and malpractice. These cases also typically involve multiple parties and losses that extend beyond one person and can affect an entire company.
If you find yourself involved in a business tort action, the business litigation attorneys at Taylor Martino P.C. are experienced at handling these types of cases and are fully committed to providing the efficient legal representation your business needs. Hiring an experienced business tort litigation lawyer is the best way to protect your interests and the interests of your business.
Operating on a contingency basis means that we have a strong incentive to obtain the greatest recovery possible. As Business Litigation and Tort lawyers, Taylor Martino can work for you on a contingency-fee-basis. This means you will be completely unencumbered by pricey hourly fees and billing. In fact, you only pay when we get results and successfully recover a “win” for you. This also means that we are confident in the merit of the cases we accept.
Taylor Martino’s business tort claim attorneys work hard to ensure your rights and protect your business interests. If you currently find yourself injured by one of the previously mentioned business torts in Alabama, consulting with a business litigation attorney at Taylor Martino is the best way to ensure your rights are protected. We offer a free consultation to help evaluate your options, so you can decide the right course of action for you, your business, and your future business and professional interests.