Business owners may find themselves in a situation where a third party intentionally disrupts contractual relationships, causing harm to the business. The legal term for this behavior is tortious interference.
While it is not a crime, people guilty of tortious interference may have to pay damages to the company they harmed. However, a case can be challenging to prove and resolve.
1. Keep necessary documentation
To prove tortious interference, start by gathering and organizing relevant documentation. Keep records of all contracts, agreements and communication with the involved parties. These documents can serve as a resource when demonstrating the interference and its impact on your business.
2. Open lines of communication with the involved parties
Communicate directly and openly with all parties involved. Express your concerns about the interference and its consequences on your business relationships. Encourage a dialogue to explore potential resolutions and seek mutual understanding.
3. Use mediation as a dispute resolution tool
Mediation provides a less adversarial approach and fosters an environment where you can explore solutions. The Ohio Supreme Court reports that mediation resolves 88.7% of tort cases.
4. Strengthen existing contracts
Review and reinforce your existing contracts to include clauses addressing tortious interference. By outlining the consequences of business interference, you establish a foundation for protecting your interests. Ensure that these clauses are well-drafted and that everyone understands them.
5. Seek injunctive relief
In cases where immediate action is necessary, explore the possibility of injunctive relief. This process involves obtaining a court order to prevent further interference. Be prepared to present compelling evidence of the interference and its detrimental effects.
While the matter is being resolved, consider relying less on the affected contracts. Exploring alternative partnerships and collaborations can help mitigate the impact of tortious interference on your business operations.