In law, the term “torts” refers to civil causes of action that provide damages for harm done or inflicted, whether intentional or not. Most torts refer to damages to one’s person or one’s property, but there are also several business torts for harm to a business’s practice and/or reputation.
Arizona law gives victims the ability to pursue the resolution of business torts in court. The plaintiff, or harmed party, may be awarded one or more of the following: compensatory damages, punitive damages or injunctive relief. Respectively, these awards often include compensation for lost business, additional penalty to the defendant, and an order for the defendant to cease the tort-causing behavior.
It’s important to keep in mind that the best way to pursue a business tort claim is to find experienced legal representation.
Business Torts Defined
Business torts refer to damages done to a business operation. The damages can be inflicted by any number of people from one individual to a large organization. Typically, business torts harm a company’s reputation, business-to-business relationships or intellectual property. These cases are often resolved with arbitration or mediation but can result in civil litigation if the previous methods are unsuccessful.
Although there are at least ten types of business torts that arise between organizations, these are five that are common.
5 Types of Business Torts
Business fraud casts a wide net and can describe anything from falsifying hours worked to engaging in embezzlement. Financial record and statement fraud are both examples of this type of tort.
2) Business Defamation, Commercial Disparagement & Trade Libel
Defamation, disparagement and libel all fall into the category that refers to communication of untrue and damaging statements about a business. Defamation harms the reputation of the business whereas disparagement harms the economic potential of the business. Trade libel, also called commercial or product disparagement, is defined as false statements that disparage property or a product.
3) Invasion of Privacy
Arizona law recognizes the following four types of invasion of privacy torts: intrusion upon seclusion, publication of private matters, appropriation, and false light publicity. The intrusion upon seclusion tort may apply when an employer intrudes into an employee’s private affairs in a highly offensive way. The publication of private matters tort applies when facts about a private matter, which does not concern the public, is publicized. The appropriation tort may apply when someone’s individual identity is used to another’s benefit. The false light tort may apply when someone is placed in a manner before the public that would be viewed as highly offensive.
4) Breach of Fiduciary Duty
When one individual or party acts on behalf of another party, the one who is taking action must abide by a fiduciary duty and act in the best interest of those being represented. A breach of this duty happens when the representing party acts according to its own interest, rather than that of the other party. Examples of those with fiduciary duty are attorneys who act on behalf of clients, CEOs who act on behalf of companies and HOA board members who act on behalf of neighborhood residents.
5) Tortious Interference with Contracts and Potential Business Relations
Business tort cases typically involve a company’s intangible assets, including its relationships. If one organization interferes with another’s contractual relations or prospective business relations, there may be reason to claim tortious interference in Arizona.
Find An Experienced Phoenix Real Estate Attorney
If you or your business has become involved in a business tort case, you want to ensure you have experienced legal representation. The most effective approach in a potential dispute is working with a legal team that can evaluate your potential case and break down the best options for success. MacQueen & Gottlieb has significant experience with resolving legal disputes involving real estate. Contact us today at 602-562-7218 to schedule an initial consultation or make an appointment online.