Your business likely operates under contractual agreements. Either of the parties to that contract could cause a breach of contract; however, a third party can also interfere with the contractual agreement between the parties. If the actions of a third-party cause one of the original parties to breach the contract, the injured party may have the legal basis to pursue a claim for contractual interference.
What Is Contractual Interference?
Contractual interference falls under the larger umbrella of tortious interference. Tortious interference, in turn, occurs when a third party wrongfully interferes with an advantageous business relationship of another party, causing economic harm. It can apply to third-party interference in a business relationship in general or specifically to interference with an existing contractual relationship that causes a breach of that contract.
Contractual Interference in Florida
Competition in the marketplace is a fundamental principle of capitalism. As such, aggressive competition by a third party is not sufficient to claim contractual interference. To prove contractual interference in Florida you must prove:
- That you had a valid contractual relationship with a second party.
- That the third party was aware of that contractual relationship.
- That the third party intentionally interfered with your contractual relationship with the second party.
- That the third party’s interference caused financial harm to your business.
There can be a fine line between legal competition and actionable interference. For example, if a third party’s aggressive advertising campaign lures a customer away and results in that customer breaching a contract with you, it probably does not amount to contractual interference. Conversely, if that same third-party offers to do business with your customer but only if they stop doing business with you, in direct violation of the contract you have with your customer and that third-party knows about the contract, that might rise to the level of contractual interference.
Consult the Tampa Bay Business Attorneys at Lieser Skaff Alexander
Determining if circumstances are such that you have a meritorious claim for contractual interference can be difficult. Our experienced business attorneys can evaluate those circumstances and advise you of your legal options. If your business has suffered losses due to the contractual interference of a third party, we will aggressively pursue the at-fault party to ensure that they are held legally and financially accountable for the damages suffered by your business.