If you were working on a business deal with someone, but did not yet have a contract, and a third party caused your deal to fall through, you may have a good claim for something called interference with prospective advantage. Interference with prospective advantage is an important "business tort" that businessmen and average folk alike can use to recover their business losses when a third party ruins a perfectly good future business deal that is not yet written up in a contract.
What Kinds of Things Would I Have to Show to Have a Decent Chance of Winning a Claim Like This in Court?
Winning on this claim is tough, but not impossible. The likelihood of winning on such a claim depends on the specific facts of your situation. Assuming you can show the following facts, you might have a good chance of winning:
- Show expectancy All states require that you show some sort of expectancy. That is, you will have to show that you had a solid possibility of some sort of economic or monetary gain based on your dealings with a person despite not yet having a contract. Typically, what happens is that two people have a solid verbal agreement about something, and at the last minute some third party comes in and ruins the deal by saying something bad about one of the parties.
- Show an intentional interference All states require that you show some type of actual intentional interference by the third party you want to sue. Intentional simply means that the third party knew about your deal and tried to kill it. Some states require that the third party maliciously interfered with your potential deal. Still other states require that the third party used illegal means to interfere with your deal.
- Show knowledge of expectancy Finally, if you want to sue a third party for this claim you will have to show that the third party had knowledge of your expectancy. You could show that you both had expectancy, and there was interference with your deal, but unless you show that the third party had knowledge of your deal, you will have no claim. Courts are looking for someone who knew about the deal and tried to ruin it either for his own gain or out of spite.
Should I Contact a Lawyer?
Looking over the list above, you should be able to get some sense of whether you have a case for interference with prospective advantage. Nonetheless, it will be important to talk to a business attorney. An attorney will determine how strong your case is and whether it is worth your time and money to pursue the person who has interfered with your business dealings.