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Attorney Greg Deans and Attorney Katie Stepp
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What you need to know about tortious interference in Texas

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2024 | Tort Litigation

Negotiating and securing favorable contracts can be key to gaining an edge in the marketplace and maintaining your client base. That’s why it’s crucially important that you know how to effectively negotiate the key terms of your business contracts.

But regardless of how careful you are in the contract negotiating and drafting process, you could still find yourself struggling to get your agreements to play out as intended. When this happens, you might want to consider whether another party is intentionally preventing your contractual arrangements from being successful.

What is tortious interference?

Tortious interference is an intentional and wrongful act that negatively impacts your contractual relationships. If you can successfully show tortious interference, then you can recover damages that you’ve suffered. Texas recognizes two types of tortious interference: that which affects an existing contractual relationship and that which impacts a prospective business relationship or contract.

Tortious interference with an existing contract

Proving tortious interference with an existing contract seems simple enough. After all, you just have to show that there was a valid and enforceable contract in place, a third-party intentionally interfered with your contract, and you suffered damages as a result of that interference.

However, the nuance involved in a tortious interference case can be significant. For example, demonstrating intent can be hard unless you have overt acts or direct communications specifying why the third-party acted the way they did. Also, capturing the full extent of your damages can be more difficult than you think, which is why it’s often a good idea to track your damages and utilize expert witnesses to help you articulate your losses.

In many interference cases, though, there’s plenty of evidence to support a claim. You just need to fit the pieces of your case together so that the court, and potentially a jury, can draw the inferences that you want them to draw. Engaging in thorough discovery, knowing the law, and aggressively litigating to protect your interests can go a long way here.

Tortious interference with a prospective contract or business relationship

Proving this type of case can be a little trickier. To succeed on one of these claims, you’ll have to show the following:

  • There’s a reasonable probability that you would’ve developed a contractual or other type of relationship with another party;
  • A third-party intentionally interfered with your anticipated contract or relationship in a way that’s independently actionable; and
  • Your business suffered damages because of the interference.

This elements can be hard to satisfy. The first element itself can be difficult to prove if you’re unfamiliar with these types of cases. You’ll also have to show that the interfering act is independently actionable, such as fraud, misrepresentation, or violation of a non-compete agreement. This requires you to prove additional legal elements than what initially meets the eye. These challenges are often enough to deter those who have been wronged from taking legal action to protect their interests. Don’t let that happen to you.

Aggressively defend your interests when your business dealings go wrong

You have to fight to protect your business and its successes. Don’t back down from a confrontation that has the potential for negative ramifications. Instead, educate yourself on the action you can take, then start diligently gathering the evidence needed to prove your case.

We know there’s a lot at stake in your tortious interference case, and entering the legal arena can be stressful. But with adequate preparation and zealous advocacy on your side, you can put your mind at ease, knowing that you’ve done everything you can to win your case.