Business Torts and Wrongful Acts
Achkar Law at Your Service
At Achkar Law, we understand the complex nature of tort law, including intentional torts, and the toll business torts can take on your economic interests.
Whether you find yourself looking for compensation or other remedies, or need to defend yourself against a tort claim, our experienced business lawyers are here to stand by your side, guiding you through every step of the process. We can analyze the specific details of your case to help you achieve your desired outcome or resolve your business dispute.
What is a Business Tort?
A tort is a wrongful act or omission that directly causes harm to a party. Within tort law, business torts are a sub-category of civil wrongs that you or your business can pursue against others for economic damages.
Business torts primarily involve intentional interference with one’s economic and financial interests. If your business is harmed by another party, it is essential to identify the appropriate tort to pursue in a lawsuit. If the other party is found liable for causing harm, you may seek compensation, damages or other remedies through the court.
To navigate these complex legal matters, we advise consulting one of our experienced business lawyers who can analyze the specifics of your case. Our team of commercial lawyers frequently assists both plaintiffs and defendants in tort litigation, including cases related to intentional torts, helping you make informed decisions throughout your business dispute.
Types of Business Torts in Canada
Some business owners mistakenly believe that incurring damages or losses is how the business world works. While in some cases that may be true, not all damages or losses you incur are merely lessons learned; sometimes, engaging in specific intentional torts resulting in economic losses is unlawful.
Below are some common business torts, often referred to as economic torts, that give rise to damages and other remedies to relieve a business’ economic harm.
Inducing Breach Of Contract
Inducing breach of contract occurs when a third party knowingly and intentionally causes another party to breach a valid and enforceable contract with your business.
In Ontario, the test for inducing breach of contract requires proving:
- The third party knew about a contract between at least two other parties;
- The third party intended to cause a breach of that contract;
- The third party’s conduct did in fact cause one of the contracting parties to breach the contract; and
- One of the contracting parties suffered damage as a result of the breach.
Fraud, Misrepresentation, and Deceit
Civil fraud also goes by the tort of deceit or fraudulent misrepresentation. To establish another party committed civil fraud and owes you damages, you must prove:
- The other party made a false representation to you or your business;
- The other party had some knowledge of the representation’s falsehood (or recklessly didn’t bother to confirm the truth of their representation);
- The other party’s false representation caused you or your business to act; and
- You or your business’ actions relying on the misrepresentation resulted in a loss.
While it may be tempting to sue for civil fraud for any deception by another party, it is always best to discuss your options with a corporate litigation lawyer from Achkar Law. Making weak allegations of fraud can open you to liability for counter lawsuits and potentially all the other side’s legal costs if you fail to prove your case.
Parties can be liable for conspiracy when they work together to engage in behavior with the main purpose of hurting you or your business.
There is a “simple motive” conspiracy, which requires proving:
- Two or more other parties engaged in a course of conduct with the predominant purpose of causing you or your business injury; and
- You or your business suffered some damage as a result.
There is also “unlawful conduct” conspiracy, which requires proving:
- Two or more parties acted together, by agreement, or with a common design or intention;
- The co-conspirators engaged in conduct that was unlawful, which can include the breach of a statute, the violation of a contract, or the carrying out of a tort, such as misrepresentation or fraud;
- The unlawful conduct was directed towards you or your business;
- Given the circumstances, the other parties should have known that injury was likely to result; and
- Injury or harm did result.
The tort of intimidation occurs when a party threatens to commit an unlawful act against you or a third party, resulting in economic losses for you or your business. The tort of intimidation requires establishing that:
- One or more parties threatened to commit an unlawful act against you or a third party;
- The threat was used to compel a party to do an act or an omission;
- They intended to cause you or your business injury;
- You submitted to the threats against you or your business; and
- You or your business suffered damages because you submitted to the threat.
Abuse of Process
Some of the most unlawful anti-competitive behaviour hides behind a mask of legitimacy. Some businesses may use frivolous and meritless lawsuits to choke you or your business out of the market.
In Ontario, there are ways to use the Rules of Civil Procedure to fight baseless legal claims early on and seek your legal costs. However, you can also sue someone for bringing a frivolous and baseless claim against you or your business.
The tort of abuse of process requires you to demonstrate that:
- You or your business are a party to a legal process initiated by another party;
- The other legal process was initiated for the predominant purpose of furthering some indirect, collateral, and improper objective;
- The other party took or made a definitive act or threat to further the improper purpose; and
- You or your business incurred special damages as a result.
In short – if another party is abusing the legal system for the sole purpose of intentionally inflicting harm to you or your business, they may be held liable for damages and losses incurred.
Product liability involves the legal responsibility of businesses, manufacturers, distributors, and other companies for injuries or damages caused by their products.
To protect your business from product liability claims, you must understand these key components:
- Defects: Identifying defects in your products is of utmost importance. These defects may arise at various stages of the product’s lifecycle, ranging from manufacturing to the product’s delivery to customers and/or retailers. Your business is required to provide directions or warn of foreseeable harms.
- Causation: In a product liability claim, the injcured party must demonstrate a direct link between the defect in the product and the injuries or damages suffered. As a business owner, you should carefully assess your products and ensure that any defects or potential hazards are promptly addressed to prevent harm to consumers.
- Reasonable Foreseeability: It is essential to consider potential risks associated with your products and take steps to address and reduce them. A key question in product liability cases is whether the harm caused by the defective product was reasonably foreseeable by the parties involved in the supply chain, including manufacturers and distributors. As a responsible business owner, you should anticipate possible risks and take measures to prevent them.
- Intended Use: Product liability claims generally focus on products used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner. It is essential to provide clear and accurate instructions for the proper use of your products, along with any necessary warnings about potential risks. Failure to do so could increase the likelihood of misuse, leading to potential liability issues.
Implementing quality control, clear instructions and warnings, regular inspections, and product liability insurance can help minimize risks.
In case of a product liability claim, seeking advice from our business lawyers is crucial for experienced legal guidance and protection of your business interests.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Business?
If your business is suffering economic losses or other damages because of someone’s tortious acts, our business lawyers are here to help. We can determine which business torts you can pursue to get you the results and remedies you need to protect your business.
Depending on the business tort, a court may order the following non-exhaustive remedies:
- Damages for economic and quantifiable losses;
- Damages compensating for non-economic injuries, such as mental distress, pain and suffering, and harm to reputation;
- Damages punishing a party to deter similar conduct from others;
- Equitable remedies, such as injunctions to prevent a party from doing something or specific performance to order a party to do something; and
- Legal costs for the successful party.
Before starting litigation, we can send a demand letter to the other side stating your legal position and propose an offer to settle the dispute, including a demand for damages your business suffered. You could even informally attempt negotiations to resolve your commercial dispute.
If negotiations fail, you can sue and move through the legal process while continuing to negotiate. Commonly, cases move through the litigation process with pleadings, mediation, examinations for discovery, a pre-trial conference, and then a trial.
Regardless of how you want to approach your specific business dispute or what stage it is at, our business lawyers can help provide the guidance you need. We will work with you to explore every legal option available to you and provide you with tailored advice for your situation.
Contact Achkar Law Today
At Achkar Law, we understand the intricate challenges that come with business torts. Our team of dedicated commercial litigation lawyers is committed to safeguarding your business interests and ensuring justice prevails.
Why Choose Achkar Law for Your Business Torts
- Expertise: Our experienced team excel in navigating the complexities of business torts, offering tailored solutions for your unique situation.
- Strategic Approach: We adopt a strategic and proactive approach to litigation, aiming for efficient resolution and minimizing the impact on your business operations.
- Client-Centric Focus: Your success is our priority. We work closely with you, keeping you informed and involved throughout the legal process.
Ready to Protect Your Business?
Don’t let business torts jeopardize your hard work. Take the first step towards resolution and safeguard your business’s future. Contact Achkar Law today for a consultation.