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Tortious Interference

Tortious interference is the unlawful interference by a third party of a contractual relationship where he/she induces breach of contract. Such a person, referred to as tortfeasor, acts illegally by convincing one of the parties to breach a contract thereby causing disruption of the performance promised under the contract. Below, Experts have answered questions relating to Tortious interference.

Can an individual sue a Human Resource representative for tortuous interference for signing the individual onto a management position where it is impossible for the individual to honor the senior manager? Also, is there a case of verbal contracts?

There is an old saying “An Oral Contract isn't worth the paper it is written on." It simply means that, while you can sue in the case of a verbal contract, the existence of such a contract is often very difficult to prove. It is just one individuals word against the other. However, if there is an oral contract and that a third party interferes with, you will certainly have a case for Tortious interference.

That said, in your situation, the management of any company is allowed to change the terms and obligations of an employee. If the senior manager overrode the original orders and forced obligations that make it impossible for you to meet the original orders, this too is within the good judgment of the company. It is not actionable.

Tortious interference requires interference from a third party. In your case, there are only two parties that are involved, those two parties being you and the company. You may sue for Breach of Contract if the company broke its contract with you in that they are not paying you as per the contract or if the change in directions affects the incentives you would have otherwise earned.

How can damages, including Punitive, be claimed in a case for Tortious interference?

The popular belief that damages can be calculated in Tortious interference cases is false. Such calculations differ from case to case and are extremely fact intensive. The damages that are easy to calculate can be property damage, lost wages or business lost. Punitive damages, much like mental anguish, pain and suffering, are harder to calculate.

For this reason, unless you have very solid proof of ill will and malicious conduct, it may not be practical to sue for Punitive damages. Juries rarely award Punitive damages unless there are very convincing reasons to do so.

Does New Jersey have specific statutes that deal with Tortious interference of contracts?

Tortious interference laws are obtained from case laws or common laws. New Jersey does not have its own laws or statutes that set forth the definitions for Tortious interference. The courts have, in general, determined that in a case of Tortious interference of a contract, following elements must be claimed and proven by the plaintiff according to the New Jersey law:
“(1) the existence of a contract;
(2) interference with that contract by someone not a party to that contract;
(3) the plaintiff must establish that the interference was done intentionally and with "malice", which is defined to mean harm that was inflicted intentionally and without justification or excuse;
(4) the plaintiff must establish that the interference caused damages to the plaintiff.”

Can an individual be held liable for damages in a tortuous interference suit to an individual (fourth party) who was going to enter into a contract with a third party who was already in contract with another individual (second party)? h2> In such a case, a tortfeasor (the person who interferes) will only be made liable for the contract he/she actually interfered with and not the consequences of such interference on parties not directly related to the original contract. Therefore, the fourth party cannot claim damages for the interference.

In general, remedies for tortuous interference include economic losses that are proven beyond doubt. Punitive damages are granted only if malicious intent on behalf of the defendant can be proven. Negative injunction preventing the defendant from benefitting from any contractual relationship that arose out of that interference may be granted as equitable remedies. If you wish to learn more about the laws relating to Tortious interference, it will be best to contact the Experts.

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Recent Tortious Interference Questions

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    Case for slander? In February he accused me of not making good on a bet for $50 over facebook. He is telling people that I bet him that I would have sex with a specific girl before anyone else. We never made, nor would I make any such bet. It was intended to be a joke (he does this kind of stuff all the time and is often banned from posting on facebook) and I went along with it for a day until he posted something that attacked me on a personal level. He brought into question the possibility of my being able to maintain a friendship with my Ex-girlfriend I was with for over 7 years. I got upset and told him to take it down and stop the nonsense. Instead, he started a page dedicated to collecting the money I 'owe' him and incited people to heckle me and go as far as posting flyers with my picture on them with "#50dollarsunpaidbet" and "#50DUB" (you can search the hashtags and see for yourself) all over town. They even made a playable version of flappy birds with my likeness. I can't make this stuff up. I blocked communication with the primary antagonists involved and the hype eventually died down until recently. I am starting a T-shirt business online. Some of my ideas are 100% my own and some I take and tweak ideas I come across online that are not copyrighted, mostly from internet meme's. He and the other antagonists shared my t-shirt page and told people that I am a swindler and a thief. And with that, the #50DUB 'craze' is back and I am getting more and more harassment everyday. I have accumulated over 500 files, including screenshots of facebook posts, all related comments, any pictures posted and private conversations I've had related to my case. I even have a text message from the primary antagonist that says, "I literally have NOTHING more to do with my time than to make sure I never have to deal with you again and if that means f**king up your stupid shirt shit or even finding out companies you're applying to and calling them with a tip on why they shouldn't hire you... well then, that I will and can do. You want this to end? Give me $50 and apologize for not knowing how to take a f**king joke." Do I have a case? What are my options that I can pursue further? I don't care about money. What I want is to be able to get on with my life without this following hanging over my head.
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