Business Torts

Business torts, like business fraud, involve intentional deception or misrepresentation which results in economic harm to a business. Whereas business fraud results in harm done directly to a business, torts do harm to assets which are less tangible, such as to a business' ability to form new contractual relationships or expected profits from the continuance of existing contractual relationships. The majority of business torts can fit into one of a few categories, as our Chicago business tort lawyers can explain.

Fraudulent Misrepresentation:

In order to file a fraud claim under fraudulent misrepresentation, the plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant intentionally provided false or misleading information. The plaintiff's reliance on this misinformation must have resulted in harm to the plaintiff. An example of fraudulent misrepresentation would be a business including financial information which is false or misleading on an application for a loan. Since the bank relied on these financial statements when it decided to grant the loan, if the business then defaults on the loan, the bank will have a claim against the business for fraudulent misrepresentation. However, if the bank later discovers that the business provided false financial information, but the business does not default on the loan, then the bank will not be able to file a claim for fraudulent misrepresentation because the bank will not have suffered any material harm as a result of the fraud.

In addition to providing false information, the requirements for fraudulent misrepresentation can also be met by failing to disclose information. This might happen if a financial advisor, for example, representing both the seller and the buyer of a property, is aware that the property contains toxic chemicals and fails to disclose this information to the buyer. In this case, the financial advisor would then be liable for fraudulent misrepresentation to the buyer.

Interference with Contractual Relations:

If a third party interferes with a contract between two other people or entities, and that interference results in harm to one of the parties, then the injured party may be able to sue for damages. In order to file a claim for interference with contractual relations, the plaintiff must be able to prove that five elements: (1) the existence of a valid and enforceable contract between the plaintiff and a third party; (2) the defendant's awareness of the contractual relationship; (3) the defendant's intentional and unjustified inducement of a breach of the contract; (4) a subsequent breach by the third party caused by the defendant's wrongful conduct; and (5) damages resulting from the breach. The business tort attorneys at our Chicago firm can analyze whether the elements of this claim are met in a particular situation.

Unfair Competition:

Unfair competition occurs when a person or business uses illegal or unfair means to get an advantage over their competitors. This can mean anything including lying or materially misrepresenting a product or service to customers, using illegal means to acquire materials at a lower rate, and failing to pay employees at least the minimum wage or the proper overtime compensation in order to lower the business' bottom line.

In addition to these main categories, people and businesses can commit other types of business torts, including trade secret misappropriation, breach of fiduciary relationships, misappropriation of business opportunities, and conspiracy.

The Chicago business tort attorneys at Lubin Austermuehle, P.C. are extremely knowledgeable about the various laws governing business torts. Our Wheaton, Hinsdale, and Schaumburg attorneys have represented clients all over Chicago, Cook, and the surrounding counties. To consult with an experienced business tort lawyer in the Chicago area today, contact us online or call us at 630-333-0333.

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