Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Tortious interference with Business Relations

A quick series this week on dirty tricks in the business world. (OK, that's an ongoing theme of these pages, but sometimes less so than others.)

Sometimes businesses use their relationships with vendors as a weapon against other businesses. For instance, the machine shop that might make parts for your equipment may possibly work with your competitor too.

But, what if your competitor threatens to take their business elsewhere if that machine shop continues to provide you with services? Is this something that could happen? Is there a remedy short of physical violence?

Some jurisdictions have recognized a civil wrong of this nature and given it a name. It's often called something along the lines of "tortious interference with business relations."

Just what does that encompass? A Dallas law firm has a nice description on their page about Business Relationships. Unfortuantely, you'll note afterreading their description, that there is a gray area where the court won't take action. You'll find similar ambiguity in most places. It's not always easy to tell when a business has crossed a line.

Best way to respond if you think that this has happened to you? Talk to an attorney.

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