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Photo of attorneys E. Kelly Conway, Michael E. Gehring and Stephen G. Harvey

Understanding tortious interference 

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2023 | Business Disputes

Legal terminology, like medical terminology, is both nuanced and potentially consequential. Unfortunately, in both cases, understanding what a professional is talking about if you don’t also hold a specific professional degree can feel like reading Latin when you’ve never studied the language. 

If you have heard the term “tortious interference” in passing when managing matters relevant to your business, you may have some idea that this phenomenon has to do with interference with contracts or relationships in an effort to cause economic harm. Yet, you may – very understandably – be unsure of exactly what this broader concept means or how it could affect your business unless you hold a law degree.

Lucy and the football is an example

In the Peanuts comic strip and cartoons, Lucy is frequently depicted holding a football for Charlie Brown to kick. No matter how the lead-up plays out, Lucy always ends up yanking the ball away at the last minute and Charlie Brown always ends up squarely on his back. Tortious interference is the business world’s equivalent of having a company’s football yanked away and landing flat on its back. 

Essentially, someone who commits tortious interference attempts to cause economic harm by interfering with the terms or execution of a contract and/or a business relationship. By changing the expectations of the game – yanking the football away – in order to assume the benefits of a profitable situation (or simply to maliciously) cause a company economic harm, tortious interference is a bad faith undertaking that results in economic harm to a specific individual and/or operation. 

This area of the law is truly complex. If you’re uncertain about how a possible occurrence of tortious interference could affect your business and/or what rights you have to address this harm, don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance as necessary.