The majority of states have recognized that when a person intentionally interferes with a contract between two or more other people, they can be held liable for tortious interference. South Carolina is no different. Interfering with a contract between two or more other parties is known as tortious interference. This can occur with an existing contract or with a prospective contract. If you believe someone has interfered with an existing or prospective contract, or someone has filed a lawsuit against you for doing so, speak with an experienced tortious interference lawyer from Beth Santilli Law, LLC today.
Tortious Interference with an Existing Contract
Lawsuits involving tortious interference with an existing contract are separate actions from those that may arise from the contract itself. Due to the fact that tortious interference involves another party that is not named in the contract, these lawsuits do not involve breach of contract. As such, the parties named within the contract cannot be held liable for tortious interference with contractual relations.
According to the Supreme Court, the theory of tortious interference states that the parties named within a contract have property rights within that contract. The Court also states that third parties do not have a right to injure or maliciously deprive the named parties from that property. When an injury or loss occurs due to the actions of a third party, the injured party can hold the interfering individual liable for paying damages.
Intent vs Negligence
Unlike many other types of torts in the state, tortious interference requires an intentional, and not a negligent act, that interferes with a contract. To prove tortious interference with an existing contract, a plaintiff must show:
– There was a contract in place
– The defendant had knowledge of that contract
– The defendant intentionally interfered with the contract
– The defendant had no justification for the interference
The plaintiff incurred damages as a result of the interference
Tortious Interference with Prospective Contracts
In South Carolina, the theory of tortious interference applies not only to existing contracts, but also to prospective contracts that have not yet been drafted. The three elements of proof for plaintiffs trying to prove tortious interference of a potential contract are as follows:
– The defendant intentionally interfered with a potential contract involving the plaintiff
– The defendant acted with illegitimate methods or purpose
– The plaintiff suffered losses as a result of the interference
Tortious interference with prospective contracts is sometimes more difficult to prove. When the defendant’s actions were unsuccessful and did not actually interfere with a contract, or when a plaintiff entered into the contract despite the interference, the courts have not historically ruled in favor of the plaintiff.
Get Legal Help Today
At Beth Santilli Law, LLC, our tortious interference lawyers in Mt. Pleasant, SC work on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants involved in these cases. If you believe a third party has interfered with a contract, we can help you prove your case to the court and give you the best chance of securing the damages you deserve. Likewise, if you have been falsely accused of tortious interference, we understand the defenses available in these cases and will use them effectively to give you the best chance of success. Contact us today to schedule a meeting with our knowledgeable attorneys.