Tortious Interference with a Prospective Economic Relationship Explained

Tortious Interference with a Prospective Economic Relationship Explained

Tortious Interference with a Prospective Economic Relationship Explained


When an individual or entity intentionally obstructs, harms, or disrupts another business or contractual relationship, they are said to have committed tortious interference. The responsible party can be held liable for damages incurred to the other person due to the harm caused to their business relationship.


When two parties enter into a business relationship, they are entitled to having each party perform their roles without interference from third parties. This statement is the underlying principle in the Restatement (Second) of Tort Law  Section 766. 


Arizona tort law gives six elements that the aggrieved party (plaintiff) needs to prove in court that the defendant committed tortious interference. These elements include:


  • An economic relationship existed between the plaintiff and the third party
  • The defendant’s awareness of the economic relationship
  • The defendant’s intentional interference led to the plaintiff’s inability to benefit from the business relationship
  • The lack of privilege for the defendant to cause the third party to go against their economic relationship
  • Clear evidence of the damages caused by the plaintiff 
  • Other adverse effects resulted from the defendant’s interference or harm to the plaintiff. 


While tort law recognizes that businesses and individuals are free to compete, There are certain situations where tortious interference occurs. For instance, when a person’s actions create an unlawful, blameworthy, and illegitimate competition. 


Let us discuss these instances and look at what a tortious interference claim entails and how to differentiate it from legitimate competition. 

Actions that Lead to Tortious Interference

Tortious, under civil law, means an action that causes harm to someone. Interference means to intrude or meddle with something or someone without invitation. Hence, tortious interference is a common law doctrine where an uninvited person wrongfully intrudes on another person’s economic relationship and causes harm. 


Other commonly used terms include malicious interference, wrongful interference, and intentional interference. The following actions qualify as a tortious interference that can lead to a lawsuit: 


  • Misrepresentation
  • Violence
  • Obstruction
  • Coercion
  • Unethical behavior
  • Intimidation
  • Abusive litigation
  • Defamation
  • Slander
  • Unlawful dealings


Tortious interference is not easy to prove against a competitor without the services of experienced business attorneys who understand the Tort Law. The attorneys at The Sorenson Firm have the resources and expertise to prove that a competitor can aim to restrain trade and not seek to compete with a plaintiff legitimately.  

Tortious Interference Claims 

Tortious interference with a prospective economic relationship can be committed under negligence or intentionally. If the claim is based on an intentional act, the plaintiff must prove the defendant acted with malice and had the desire to cause harm. 


Additionally, if the claim is based on negligence, the plaintiff must also prove the defendant had a duty of care that they failed to execute, resulting in loss of economic advantage.

Plaintiff’s Role  

The plaintiff can be the person forced to breach the agreement or who lost the economic advantage after the other party breached the agreement. Tort Law allows both victims to pursue the person who interfered with their relationship (defendant).


During the hearing, the plaintiff must demonstrate that a legal business relationship or transaction existed and the economic advantage they could have achieved if there had been no interference.

Defendants Privileges

The defendant in a tortious interference lawsuit can present privileged defenses, allowed by the Tort Law, such as: 


  • Their action was in good faith and reasonable
  • They had a significant business interest to protect
  • They did not use improper and deceptive action as alleged by the plaintiff
  • They perceived that their interest was being harmed and had to take protective measures


If the defendant can show the court that they applied rational and acceptable business judgment, the judge or jury may be reluctant to interfere with reasonable business decisions.


The Sorenson Law Firm understands this position well, and we can efficiently represent you in court— whether as a plaintiff or defendant. In our first consultation, we can tell you the chances you have of succeeding in getting a fair judgment.

Difference between Tortious Interference and Legitimate Competition

When the court receives a tortious interference suit, they will first ensure they differentiate the allegations between legitimate and free competition from wrongful and malicious interference. Tort Law allows businesses to compete and lawfully fight for the same business. 


Nonetheless, if a party acts in bad faith by defaming or disparaging a product or service, violates antitrust laws, or uses unfair competitive means, the aggrieved party can take legal action. 


But, if the party uses aggressive but legal competitive strategies, discontinues a product or service without malice, or positions a competitor’s product as inferior without intentionally causing harm, then a tortious interference claim may be unsuccessful and labeled as legitimate competition. 

Work with The Sorenson Law Firm

The Sorenson Law Firm is a reputable legal organization with a wealth of experience handling business litigation and tortious interference cases. Whether you were coerced or forced to breach an economic relationship agreement or suffered harm from a breach of a business relationship, we will assist you in recovering damages and receiving a fair judgment. Book a free consultation today. 


Contact Us

    Contact Us

      Fawn Blue
      Fawn Blue
      Let me start off by saying that if your looking for someone who is kind thoughtful professional down to earth easy to communicate with & is very pro active in how they do business & is 100% invested in you & getting the best outcome for whatever your situation may be than I would recommend jonny & rowanna. This was my first time that I needed to find a lawyer who could assist me with my situation. What stood out to me was at the end of our zoom meeting I remember saying to both jonny & rowann that I'm not interested in moving forward because I was more at fault than the lady who hit me so in my mind I'm thinking we'll this guy probably isn't going to want to take my case because it seemed like it would be an uphill battle, & he responded by letting me know that he would like to take my case & see what he could do & bottom line is that you"ll either have more than what you have now or you"ll be in the same situation. So I thought about it for a minute & decided to trust them to see what happens. So from that day on all the way til the case was resolved I've had a great experience with them. Rowanna explained everything to me in a way that was not complicated & always asked me that if had any questions or if I didn't understand she would ask. They are easy to talk with & made me feel like I was important & trying to get the best outcome for me. When my case was complete I was so grateful & appreciated for what they were able to do for me. Johnny & Rowanna are the best & will always have & want the best for you I know because they did that for me. Thanks again CHRISTOPHER
      Audrey Sullivan (Audrey-AZRealtor)
      Audrey Sullivan (Audrey-AZRealtor)
      Experts who care about their clients & work seamlessly to help. There was immense relief having Sorenson Law Firm on our side. They were referred to us by a friend and I am thankful for that! I don't know what we would have done without their expertise.
      Jim Van Wicklin
      Jim Van Wicklin
      Johnny and his team are phenomenal. From the intake with his admin team to the final resolution, there wasn't a moment I didn't feel like we were his top client. I highly recommend Sorenson Law Firm for all your legal needs.
      Nicholas Thomas
      Nicholas Thomas
      I worked with The Sorenson Law firm for about 5 months resolving a personal injury claim that occurred during a car accident I was in and I couldn't have been more happy with results. The firm was always responsive, quick to answer any questions I had and I could tell they had my best interest in mind. I would recommend The Sorenson Law Firm to anyone that needs a personal injury lawyer, they're great!
      Amanda Larson
      Amanda Larson
      I cannot recommend the Sorenson Law Firm enough. After an accident, I was in a situation where I knew very little about my options. I reached out to my community for advice and Johnny’s wife was quick to put me in contact with him to get me some help. The insurance company we were dealing with was not the easiest, but Johnny and his team did a wonderful job at recovering my losses and fighting for me. Johnny and his team kept me well informed and educated throughout the process, which meant a lot as I was very naïve and knew very little going into this process. I feel fortunate to have crossed paths with this wonderful team, and if life ever throws another curve ball, I’ll be sure to use the Sorenson Law Firm again!!!
      Erick Fuentes
      Erick Fuentes
      Sorenson Law handled my case against a local vendor, Mr. Sorenson handled my case expeditiously and to my satisfaction, I would recommend Sorenson Law to anyone. Thank you Mr Sorenson
      Jessica Davis
      Jessica Davis
      Very compassionate with our very delicate situation. Understanding and professional at all times. Always kept our best interest at hand and communicated very well every step of the way.
      Alfanzo Atkins
      Alfanzo Atkins
      Had a good experience with Matt would recommend if you were hurt or injured very polite n responsive
      Anna C
      Anna C
      I got into a severe car accident and went to the Sorenson law firm, they weren’t just any law firm for me, I was very impressed by their actions as they put you and your matters first! They are one who takes pride and truly represents you and themselves. I thank them for helping me every step of the way in getting justice and all of their hard work!
      Mark Bay
      Mark Bay
      Sorenson Law Firm made a tough situation less burdensome for me and my family. Going through the lost of a loved one and having to instill trust in people you don't know is hard. But Johnny Sorenson and his associates were very caring, professional, informative and timely when it came to our case. I would recommend The Sorenson Law Firm to anyone that needs lawyers that actually care about their clients and not just a paycheck. I'm writing this as a thank you to their company and to the team that worked on our case. Thank you!