Protecting California Business Owners' Interests In Complex Business Torts

While fair competition is an integral part of any healthy economy, there are limits to what the law allows a company to do in the pursuit of additional market share. It is against the law, for example, for one business to harm a competitor's intangible assets such as reputation, goodwill, business relationships and economic interests. If another individual or company acts in an unfair manner that deliberately seeks to interfere with your business operations, you have the right to take legal action in order to protect your interests.

A civil business tort allows you to seek damages to compensate for the losses you suffer as a result of another party's detrimental conduct. These are complex claims that require the attention of a qualified attorney. At Contreras Law Firm, we have extensive experience resolving a wide array of these cases. Whether through negotiation or litigation, we are diligent in our pursuit of the best available outcome for every client we represent.

Fraudulent Misrepresentation

Fraudulent misrepresentation is the deliberate misrepresentation of fact with the intent to deceive, also called fraud or deceit. To prove fraud, you will need to establish the following elements:

  • That the defendant made a deliberate misrepresentation of a material fact
  • That the defendant knew of the falsity or reasonably should have known that the representation of fact was false
  • That the defendant used the false information to induce you to rely upon it in making a decision to act
  • That you did actually justifiably rely upon false information
  • That you suffered actual damages as a result

Interference With Contractual Relations

Interference with contractual relations occurs when a third party acts in a way that disrupts a relationship between two parties to a contract and the third party's conduct has a detrimental impact on either or both of the first two parties. In order to recover damages, it will be necessary to prove the following elements:

  • That a valid contract existed between you and another
  • That the defendant was aware of the contract
  • That the defendant deliberately and intentionally acted in such a way as to cause a breach or disruption of the contractual relationship
  • That the defendant's actions succeeded in creating an actual breach or disruption of the contractual relationship
  • That you suffered damages as a result of that breach or disruption

Interference With A Prospective Business Advantage

In cases involving an interference with a prospective business advantage, the business relationship in question has not yet reached the contractual stage. In these cases, the conduct of a third party creates a disruption that ultimately prevents the business relationship from being formalized. Before you will be able to collect damages, you will need to prove the following:

  • That an economic relationship between you and someone else leading to a probable economic advantage to you or your business existed
  • That the defendant was aware of the business relationship
  • That the defendant acted in a way intentionally designed to harm the relationship
  • That the relationship was in fact disrupted or harmed
  • That, as a result, you or your business suffered damages clearly attributable to the disruption of the relationship

Unfair Competition

California law defines unfair competition as any "unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice and unfair, deceptive, untrue or misleading advertising and any act prohibited by Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 17500) of Part 3 of Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code."

Unfair competition involves an illegal, fraudulent or unfair business practice, and deceptive, inaccurate or misleading advertising, deliberately aimed at undercutting another person or company for a business advantage. If you believe you have been the victim of unfair competition, you will need to consult a San Diego business tort lawyer to see if you have a case.

We represent clients in a variety of cases involving different types of unfair competition, including:

  • Conversion: In the context of business tort law, conversion is roughly the civil equivalent of the crime of theft. We understand the elements needed to be proven in these cases, and we know how to build a strong case for clients on both sides of these matters.
  • Misappropriation of trade secrets: Trade secrets are often the most important to the success of a business. We provide skillful representation in cases involving intellectual property, client lists, proprietary processes and other intangible assets for our clients.
  • Slander of title and trade libel: These are separate torts in California. The main distinction is that slander of title involves falsely disparaging another person's title to property; trade libel is falsely disparaging the quality of another person's goods or services.
  • Bad faith: Generally defined as a "breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing," bad faith claims frequently arise in matters involving insurance companies that ignore, deny or unreasonably attempt to avoid paying claims for which they are liable under a policy.
  • Breach of confidence: If you revealed confidential information to a party who owed you the duty of confidentiality and that party later breached its duty, you have the right to pursue damages for any harm you or your company suffered as a result.

Aggressive Representation By Skilled, Experienced And Successful San Diego Business Tort Attorneys

The law of business torts is broad and complex. If you believe that you have been a victim of a business tort in Southern California, or if you have been accused of a business tort, contact Contreras Law Firm in San Diego for a free consultation with one of our experienced business tort attorneys. We offer personalized, focused representation, and we are diligent in the pursuit of justice for every client.

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