Business client reviewing a contract

The Third Wheel Of Contracts: Tortious Interference

When you enter into a business relationship with another person or company, you know you and the other party are out there making deals with third-parties too. But you expect those third-parties to refrain from interfering with any arrangements or deals of yours. 

When a third-party does disrupt an existing business relationship, and it harms one of the parties to the original agreement, the party that was harmed can bring a lawsuit against the third-party for tortious interference. This legal claim involves aspects of contract law and tort law and is used to confront people and businesses who interfere with the business relationships of others. 

Vaziri Law LLC assists business owners and entrepreneurs in the Chicago area who want to use tortious interference lawsuits to hold third-parties accountable for disruptions they have caused to their business relationships. 

Two Types Of Tortious Interference 

Under Illinois law, there are two types of tortious interference:

  • tortious interference with contract; and 
  • tortious interference with business expectancy/relationships. 

The first protects parties who are in a formal contractual relationship that is ruined by a third-party. The second protects parties who have not yet executed a formal contract, but are moving in that direction. 

1. Tortious Interference with Contract 

If your formal, contractual relationship with another party has been interfered with by a third party, you may make a claim for tortious interference with contract. In order to win your case, and hold the third-party accountable, you must be able to show: 

  • You and another person or business had entered into a valid and enforceable contract.
  • A third-party, who is now the defendant in your tortious interference lawsuit, knew of the contract.
  • The defendant intentionally and unjustifiably induced the person or business you had contracted with to breach that contract.
  • The defendant’s wrongful conduct caused the breach.
  • You suffered damages as a result of the breach. 

Gathering evidence that proves each of these elements is critical if you want to win your case. Vaziri Law LLC can help you find documents, statements, and other evidence necessary to maximize your chances of winning your case. 

2. Tortious Interference with Business Expectancy/Relationships 

If no contract has been executed, but you believe a third-party has negatively impacted your business expectancy/relationships, you must be able to prove the following elements in order to win a tortious interference with business expectancy/relationships lawsuit: 

  • You had a reasonable expectation of entering into or continuing a valid business relationship with another person or business.
  • A third-party, who is now the defendant in your tortious interference lawsuit, knew of that expectation. 
  • The defendant intentionally and without justification interfered with that expectation.
  • The defendant’s interference prevented your legitimate expectancy from ripening into a valid business relationship.
  • You suffered damages as a result of the interference.

It is often more difficult to win this type of tortious interference case because, amongst other reasons, evidence of a deal almost happening is less concrete than an executed contract. However, this should not deter you if you have suffered significant financial losses due to a third-party’s meddling. 

Damages in Tortious Interference Lawsuits

In order to win a tortious interference claim, you must be able to prove you suffered damages as a result of the interference. The court or the jury will look at the evidence of damages, not just to decide if the claim is valid, but also to determine the amount of money it should award you if you successfully prove interference. 

Common damages in tortious interference cases include: 

  • The loss of the benefits of a contract (whether the contract was in place or on its way to being executed)
  • Lost profits
  • Loss of potential income from deals that were not yet finalized
  • The loss of customers 
  • Emotional damages and harm to reputation
  • Punitive damages

Maximizing your damages requires a thorough understanding of your business and the harm it has suffered. It is important to work with an experienced attorney like Pasha Vaziri who knows what sort of evidence to look for to prove damages and how to best present it.

Fueled by Passion. Built on Trust. 

Vaziri Law LLC practices business litigation in the heart of Chicago and surrounding areas. If you are involved in a business dispute similar to the ones described above, our experienced team can help you determine if it would be appropriate to sue for tortious interference. We are ready to listen to your side of the story, and help guide you through a difficult situation. Please contact us today to schedule a meeting.