A person can bring a suit of intentional interference with prospective business advantage against a third party when they can show that the third party disrupted his profitable business relationships. Here, the law attempts to protect business relationships from outside disruption by a third party.
Although state laws may vary, intentional interference with prospective business advantage typically considers five issues:
- Was there an economic relationship between two parties containing a reasonably probable future economic benefit that would have been recognized if the outside party had not interfered?
- Did the disrupting party have knowledge of the business relationship?
- Were the acts designed to disrupt the business relationship?
- Was there actual disruption of the business relationship?
- Under the circumstances, should the disrupting party be held liable to the injured party?
It is important to note that the economic relationship between the two parties must contain a reasonably probable future economic benefit. This means that the injured party does not need to show an actual economic benefit in the business relationship. The injured party need only show that the economic advantage to her business relationship was reasonably probable.
Knowledge is an important element of intentional interference with prospective business advantage. Thus, an outside party who has no knowledge of the existence of a business relationship cannot be held liable when the relationship dissolves, provided his acts are lawful. Furthermore, if the outside actor's purpose was not to interfere with the party's business relations, he cannot be liable even if his actions have the unintended effect of discouraging one party from doing business with the other. In other words, the outside actor must intend to cause the fallout in business relations.
Do I Need an Attorney Experienced in Unfair Competition?
If you believe that someone has intentionally interfered with a prospective business advantage, you should probably speak to a lawyer. An experienced business lawyer will help explain the complex nature of unfair competition laws, and inform you of your legal rights as well as preserve any possible legal remedies you may have.