The business world can be very competitive. As a business owner you can be hard working and honest but there are others out there that may not always play nice. Bad actors may engage in practices that are less than savory to threaten your business. If you are in a business or economic tort dispute it is highly advisable you find an experienced attorney to represent you.
Lawyer for Business Tort Litigation in Miami-Dade, FL
Business tort cases can get very ugly. Most business owners who have been harmed may feel nervous bringing a business tort claim but litigation may be an unfortunate reality. If you are in a business tort dispute you need to find an attorney that is experienced and can make the process as smooth as possible for you.
The attorneys at Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys are experts in their field and can handle a vast array of complicated cases and issues. We serve the greater Miami-Dade area including Miami, Homestead, Hialeah, Pinecrest, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, North Miami, Doral, Coral Gables, and Cutler Bay. Call and make an appointment to meet with us at (305) 709-0880. We can evaluate your case and discuss your next options.
Florida Business Tort Information Center
- Tortious Interference
- Trade Libel
- Fraudulent Misrepresentation
- Theft of Trade Secrets
- Additional Resources
A common form of business tort is known as tortious interference. Tortious interference usually arises when a third party interferes with a valid contract with the intent of causing economic harm. This can be done by causing a party to a contract to breach that contract. As an example: if party A and party B have a valid contract, and party C blackmails party B into violating the contract then party B could be found liable for tortious interference.
To win on a claim of tortious interference, the plaintiff must show the following:
- The existence of a valid contract;
- That the defendant knew of the contract;
- That the defendant had an intent to interfere with the contract;
- That the defendant actually interfered with the contract;
- That the interference was improper; and
- That the plaintiff suffered damages.
All of the factors above are more complicated than they sound in a litigation setting but the improper interference factor can be especially tricky due to the fact that some forms of interference with a proper motive may not be a tort. There are some additional considerations when deciding whether interference was improper.
- The type of conduct;
- The actor’s interests;
- The actor’s motive;
- The interests of the other parties;
- The social interests in protecting the contract versus protecting the actor’s freedom of action;
- How closely related the actor’s behavior is to the interference; and
- The relationships between the parties;
In an era of yelp and google reviews, a company’s fortunes are more tied to its reputation than ever before. Companies, especially small businesses, live and die by their reputation and all it can take is a few negative comments to significantly hurt a business. Of course not every negative statement made about a business is true. This type of untrue statement is a type of defamation that is known as trade libel.
Generally, a plaintiff in a defamation case must show that the defendant made an untrue, published statement that caused injury. Publication simply means that the statement was made to a third party. Trade libel is relatively similar but the requirements are business specific. To succeed on a trade libel claim, the plaintiff must show:
- The defendant made a false statement about the quality of the plaintiff’s products or services. Note, the statement must be a statement of fact and not an opinion;
- The statement was published; and
- The plaintiff’s business suffered monetary damages.
Fraudulent misrepresentation usually occurs in instances where a party makes a false or misleading statement to induce another party into a contract. To win a fraudulent misrepresentation case the following must be shown:
- A representation was made;
- The representation was false;
- The representation was known to be false or stated recklessly without knowing whether it was actually true or not;
- The representation was made with the intent that the other party rely on it;
- The other party relied on the representation;
- The other party suffered damages as a result of relying on the representation.
A party that prevails on a fraudulent misrepresentation can void the contract and seek monetary damages for actual losses.
Theft of Trade Secrets
When most people think of stealing trade secrets they may imagine people breaking into an underground vault to steal the formula for Coca-Cola. Trade secrets encompasses much more than secret formulas, it can also include such things as customer lists, pricing guides, and historical purchasing information. To prevail on a theft of trade secrets claim, a plaintiff must show that:
- The subject matter qualifies for trade secret protection. Besides formulas, patterns, compilations, programs, devices, methods, techniques, or processes, protected subject matter includes customer lists, pricing guidelines, historical purchasing information, and customer business needs/preferences;
- The holder of the secret took reasonable precautions to prevent disclosure;
- The secret was misappropriated or wrongfully taken.
- Misappropriation requires that the person knew or had reason to know that the trade secret was taken by improper means. Improper means includes theft, bribery, misrepresentation, breach or inducement of a breach of a duty to maintain secrecy, or espionage through electronic or other means.
If a plaintiff is successful in asserting a theft of trade secrets claim they may recover damages in the amount of actual loss and unjust enrichment caused by the misappropriation or liability may be imposed as a royalty on the misappropriator’s use of the trade secret.
Theft of Trade Secrets Statute – Florida has adopted the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Following this link will let you read the full text of the law. The law also provides for injunctive relief to stop a trade secret thief from using the secret to harm the business of the owner.
Florida Trade Libel Law Comparison – This link is to an interesting article published by the Florida State Bar. The article discusses whether sharing a link to libelous content would make the sharer also liable for libel. The article includes a discussion about current Florida libel law compared to trade libel laws across the country.
Find a Business Tort Attorney in Miami-Dade, FL
If you are part of a business tort dispute it may be clear to you that you are in the right. Business tort cases can be fairly complicated. It is highly advisable that you seek counsel from a proven winner.
The attorneys at Abrams Justice Trial Attorneys are no strangers to winning hard cases. We are battle hardened and we will aggressively protect your interests. We serve the greater Miami-Dade area including Miami, Homestead, Hialeah, Pinecrest, Miami Gardens, Miami Beach, North Miami, Doral, Coral Gables, and Cutler Bay and if you have a case you need help with, call us at (305) 709-0880 so that we can discuss and evaluate your case.