Attorney Reed Bloodworth talks about defending Florida business tort claims for clients. He explains what business torts are and some defenses against torts.
What Is A Business Tort?
Business torts are wrongful acts committed by an individual or a business that cause financial loss. This can include loss of business, loss of clients, or, loss of advantageous business relationships.
Business torts can be thought of as economic wrongs. Torts are acts committed by people or businesses against another business entity.
The wrongs may be intentional or unintentional. Sometimes a tort is committed recklessly or in negligence. No matter how a tort occurs, if a plaintiff suffers a financial loss, a defendant may be blamed.
Examples of Business Torts
Business tort law provides businesses and individuals with a civil legal remedy for a range of wrongful actions. Examples of common business torts include:
- Breach of fiduciary duty
- Fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation
- Tortious interference with a business relationship; or,
- Tortious interference with a contractual relationship
- Misappropriation of trade secrets
- Conversion, and
- Breach of trust
- Embezzlement by a business partner
- Theft or illegal sale of a trade secret or intellectual property
- Breach of nondisclosure or confidentiality agreements
These are causes of actions former employees, or perhaps, LLC members, corporation stockholders, or business partners may bring against each other in business litigation. Reed and the Bloodworth Law Business Litigation team represent defendants and plaintiffs.
When defending against tort claims, Reed said it’s the attorney’s job to dig into all the facts in order to disprove at least one element of every different business tort alleged.
Plaintiffs Must Prove Loss
A defendant facing a civil action involving a tort may assert various defenses which will vary by case and circumstance. There are some defenses commonly used in response to intentional torts.
Business torts can be successfully defended so that a defendant avoids liability when it’s shown that a third party in a business relationship was not intentionally interfered with and that the plaintiff had no financial loss.
For example, in a breach of fiduciary duty action, the plaintiff would have to plead and prove that the parties shared a special relationship…where the plaintiff placed a great deal of trust and confidence in the hands of the defendant and that the defendant accepted that role.
But the plaintiff must prove financial loss occurred due to the actions or negligence of the defendant.
Defending a Breach Entails
And then, that the defendant breached that duty of care to the plaintiff. And that as a result of that, the plaintiff suffered some type of financial damage.
Defending that breach would entail:
- The discovery process of getting all the documents involved
- Getting written answers to questions; and then,
- Taking depositions in order to find evidence that what they’re alleging isn’t true
If we could prove, under that example, that the individuals didn’t share a special relationship that would qualify as fiduciary in nature, or, that even if there was such a relationship, the plaintiff didn’t suffer any damages, then we would have successfully defended that claim. That is how attorneys go about defending these types of business torts.
Legal Argument Examples
Reed said that there’s also the legal argument side of it. A good example of that is tortious interference with a business relationship or contractual relationship.
“There is case law that says if someone is competing in good faith, and they’re not out to actually harm the plaintiff in this situation, then the defendant may be found not guilty of these types of tortious interference with a business relationship or contractual relationship,” Reed said.
“That’s the essence of how you defend business torts. It’s digging into the facts of the case and finding those elements that will support your defense and disprove the plaintiff’s necessary elements to every cause of action they allege.”
Consult With the Bloodworth Law Business Litigation Team
Attorney Reed Bloodworth is Founder and CEO of Bloodworth Law with offices in Orlando, Florida, and Winter Haven, Florida. If you have what you believe is a business tort claim, find out how Bloodworth Law can help you or your business by talking about what’s occurring and some of the options that you have to resolve the dispute.Consider sharing this post