Can businesses commit torts? Business torts, also known as “economic torts” are wrongful acts committed against business entities. They are often intentional torts but can also be done out of negligence or recklessness. Business torts cause (or could cause in the future) some kind of financial losses. In other words, business entities can be financially impacted by the intentional or negligent acts of other businesses or individuals. Businesses that incurred losses can seek monetary damages in civil court or seek for the courts to issue injunctions ordering the defendant to cease certain wrongful activities. This article discusses about business torts in the United States generally and seeks to answer the question “can businesses commit torts?.”
As previously mentioned, business torts in the United States are wrongful actions performed against a business that cause harm to that business. The harm can include loss of profits, loss of reputation, loss of business competitive advantage, loss of market share, loss of clients, loss of partnerships and other types of losses. Business torts may be committed intentionally (by a competitor business with the intent to cause harm) or may be caused by the negligent or reckless behavior of other businesses or individuals. As a result, businesses indeed can commit torts against other businesses and individuals.
In the case of economic torts, a business that allegedly has been harmed by the actions of another business or individual can file a civil lawsuit in court. The defendant is the party who committed the harm and the harmed business is the plaintiff. In a business tort lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove several elements depending on the type of tort. For example, in a negligence case, plaintiff must prove that defendant had a duty to act in a certain manner, that defendant did not uphold the duty, the defendant’s actions are the cause for the plaintiff’s harm and plaintiff suffered damages as a result of defendant’s actions.
To better understand how businesses can commit torts, we will lay out some examples of business torts. A few common examples of business torts include wrongful interference with contract or business relations, unfair competition, disparagement, and computer torts.
Wrongful interference with contract or business relations happens when the defendant intentionally and wrongfully interferes with the legitimate business interests of another. This is also known as “tortious interference.” Defendant can interfere with contracts of the business entity, with prospective business opportunities, and even with the right to earn a living.
Unfair competition describes the situation where the defendant markets a product that is confusingly similar to that of the plaintiffs. Unfair competition is similar to a trademark and copyright infringement. These types of claims can also involve false advertising.
Disparagement occurs when a party makes false statements regarding the quality of goods, products or services sold by a business entity which causes loss of business to plaintiff. Two claims that involve disparagement are slander of title and trade libel.
Computer torts describe situations in which intentional damage is made to the hardware or software of a business entity computer system. This can be considered a tort when such action negatively impacts the business’s ability to secure profits.
Many business tort claims involve a complex determination of the plaintiff’s future or projected losses. Contact us, your international business attorney in Florida, to assist you with your business torts situation or schedule a consultation.
Malescu Law P.A. – Business Lawyers