It’s Not Personal. It’s Business. Or is it…

April 20, 2010

It’s not personal. It’s business. Ah… the Godfather, of course you shed some light on tort law in North Carolina. This is actually not a bad way to think about these first two business torts in North Carolina. Parties can interfere with deals – or prospective deals – in a lawful manner so long as it is done for a significant business interest without being subject to tort liability. However, when it gets personal – and no the “it’s always personal to me, it’s MY business” claim is not going to be effective – companies should be aware of the business tort of tortious interference with prospective economic advantage. Read more

Why is this person interfering with my business agreements? For spite!

April 15, 2010

Business owners often wonder what exactly constitutes “fair” competition by their competitors and what behavior gives rise to a cause of action. These next few posts will address the three business torts under North Carolina law, and what you have to prove to get them. The first type of business tort is called tortious interference with contract. This is where a business owner has a contract with a second party and a third party –without justification – intentionally induces that second party not to perform under the contract. And as with the famous Seinfeld episode, the justification of “for spite” is not going to be successful. Read more

Business Owners … Learn a Little About Punitive Damages

April 4, 2010

I represent some small businesses who are worried about being exposed to punitive damages and, to some extent, they should be. I think there have been a couple of Grisham books which involved a plaintiff suing the defendant for 100 billion or perhaps 500 katrillion dollars. This brings up the concept of tort reform, whereby businesses would receive statutory protection to limit companies from the potential for massive liability through punitive damages designed to “teach them a lesson.” However, North Carolina actually has a statute which limits recovery under punitive damages. Read more

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