Business torts are a type of civil wrong committed against a business entity, either a corporation or an individual. These causes of action are also referred to as economic torts. In a business tort claim, the plaintiff asserts that its business interests were damaged by the negligent or intentional acts of another party, and that said acts resulted in economic losses.
If successful, the plaintiff will be able to obtain financial compensation from the other party. The legal team at Silver, Bass & Brams handles business law torts across the South Florida area, from Vero Beach to West Palm Beach.
This area of law covers a very wide range of cases. Common torts in this category include the following:
Broadly speaking, restraint of trade is any activity that hinders the free flow of commerce or the legitimate business activities of an organization. It is an internationally recognized concept; in the U.S., the courts derive their authority on these matters from the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. Monopolistic business practices fall under this category because they are held to restrain competitors unlawfully. Other examples are price-fixing schemes involving two or more businesses and certain kinds of non-compete agreements.
Interfering with the contractual agreements or business relationships of another entity is considered tortious interference. Common torts include the use of unethical tactics to force a business to breach a contract or to pressure a company into suspending its dealings with another organization. The courts define tortious conduct of this nature to encompass non-contractual business relationships as well as those involving formal contracts.
Publishing or publicly communicating false statements that harm the reputation of a business falls under the category of commercial disparagement. In these cases, the entity held responsible for the false statements may be a business competitor or a private individual. To prevail in a disparagement suit, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the statement in question was false, communicated with knowledge of (or indifference to) its falsity, disseminated with the intent of causing damage to the business, and successful in causing economic harm to the business.
Developing a product that too closely resembles a competitor’s trademarked product (which is forbidden by the Lanham Act) is a common type of business tort. False advertising—deliberately misleading customers about the nature of a product or service—is another tort that is classified as unfair competition.
A contract can be ruled invalid if one party is able to demonstrate that the agreement is based on false claims made by another party. As with disparagement cases, the plaintiff must show that the claims were made with knowledge of or reckless indifference to their falsity and that these misrepresentations led to economic harm.
A full-service firm based in South Florida, Silver, Bass & Brams has years of experience with all kinds of business law torts, and we’re always willing to hear from companies that have been unlawfully harmed by a competitor or a customer. We invite you to contact us and ask for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.