Business Torts

Strategic New Jersey Business Tort Attorneys

Strong advocacy for business litigation matters in Central NJ

Business torts are defined as intentional, negligent, or reckless acts committed against a company that has a negative financial impact on the business. Many business torts give rise to civil claims for damages to the company’s business relationships, its reputation, or its functionality. The claims can be based upon actual losses, or on future loss estimates. In some cases, the court can also issue an injunction that mandates a defendant stop illegal actions associated with the business tort.

At Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, we are committed to helping business clients claim the compensation they deserve via a successful civil business tort lawsuit.  When a company suffers damage to its reputation, has its trade secrets misappropriated, or loses earning potential because of the intentional or negligent actions by another, our team of business litigation lawyers will aggressively pursue justice on its behalf.

What is a business tort?

A tort is a civil, rather than criminal, act that causes injury to another. However, unlike civil torts that address injuries to people or property, business torts address harm to business interests. This can mean  loss of clients, harm to reputation, and other things of that nature.

The area of business torts gives companies that have suffered financial harm a legal outlet to pursue financial compensation for those losses. Tort litigation allows the court to determine the appropriate and fair recovery for the injured party, as well as any applicable penalties and fines.

There are three elements to bringing a business tort against a negligent party:

  1. Showing that the defendant had a duty to act in accordance with the law, contract, or normal circumstances
  2. Showing that the defendant breached that duty with their action or inaction
  3. Showing that this breach caused harm, losses and damages to the plaintiff

Our New Jersey attorneys use our combined decades of experience to prove these elements to the court.

Common business tort claims in NJ

There are many ways a business can suffer economic losses because of intentional or negligent actions of another. Damages ranging from loss of clients, irreparable harm to business relationships, or to the reputation of the business, and the high costs of trying to repair that harm can have devastating consequences and can sometimes lead to the closure of a business. The most common types of business torts include:

Breach of fiduciary duty

Fiduciary duty is the duty of care owed by one party to another; i.e., the fiduciary to the beneficiary. You typically see these types of relationships in contracts, estates and trusts, or shareholder and partnership agreements. Common fiduciaries are estate administrators, corporate CEOs and management, or brokers. When a fiduciary does not act in the best interest of the beneficiary and the beneficiary suffers financial losses, the fiduciary may be liable for those losses.

Fraudulent misrepresentation

When two parties enter into a contractual agreement, it is assumed that both parties are acting in good faith. When one party intentionally misrepresents their position with falsified information or intentions, fraudulent misrepresentation has occurred.

The plaintiff in this type of situation will need to prove that the defendant intentionally made a false representation or did so recklessly because they went forth with the contractual agreement not knowing if the information was in fact accurate. The defendant must have known that the plaintiff relied on this information and representation to be true, and caused harm to the plaintiff because of the misrepresentation.

Tortious interference

This is a common law tort that results in financial damage to a business whereby another party purposely hinders a contractual agreement between the petitioner and another business entity. Most commonly, one entity entices, blackmails, or threatens someone to induce a breach of contract that causes significant loss to the petitioner.

Tortious interference must result from an intentional malicious act by the defendant. If the court fails to find a motivation for the defendant’s actions, the tortuous interference claim is invalid. The defendant must have had knowledge of the contract, have a specific intent to interfere with the contractual agreement, have actually interfered with the execution of the contract, have acted improperly, and caused damage to the petitioner.

Restraint of trade

This type of common law is not an actual business tort, but it results when a business suffers financial loss because the defendant interfered with the normal conduction of business. Price fixing, monopolizing, and coercion are examples of restraint of trade practices. The financial impact may not be immediate in this type of claim, but can have a substantial impact on the business and its future.

Theft of trade secrets

A trade secret is any type of confidential information that has a monetary value to the business. A trade secret can be a recipe, a design element, manufacturing process, advertising plan or sales strategy that gives the company a competitive edge in the marketplace. A theft occurs when someone within a corporation with access to the trade secret uses that information to profit personally, or to intentionally cause harm to the business. Patents, non-disclosure, and confidentiality agreements can help protect trade secrets, but the most effective protection comes from limiting the number of people with access to the trade secret.

Trade defamation

When a business suffers damage to its reputation because of false claims made by another party, defamation has occurred. Trade libel refers to false claims being made in writing, and trade slander refers to false claims made in speaking. In whichever form the defamation occurred, the offending party may be held liable for damages.

What compensation am I entitled to for a business tort?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be eligible to seek legal remedies for:

  • Compensatory damages, based on the approximate amount of money necessary to build your company back to the state it was before the harm occurred.
  • Injunctive relief, which will force the defendant to stop the harmful and damaging behavior.
  • Punitive damages, awarded to plaintiffs when the court believes the defendant has acted in an egregiously negligent or malicious manner. Punitive damages are meant to deter further reckless behavior.

The NJ attorneys at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP have a wealth of experience in all types of business tort matters. Do not hesitate to contact us for informed guidance about your case.

Skilled NJ business tort attorneys

If you believe you have a business tort claim, contact the attorneys at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP at once. Our legal team is experienced, professional and ready to advocate for you. We serve clients from offices in Edison, Red Bank and Toms River, and are available to represent you in a variety of litigation matters. Call our experienced NJ personal injury lawyers at 732-777-0100 or contact us online to request a free consultation.