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Common Types of Business Torts in Washington DC


Business torts are wrongs committed against a business entity that bring harm to it. These are often referred to as economic torts and are sometimes intentional, but more often they are caused by negligence. A business entity that suffers financial harm through an intentional or negligent act of another business can ask for monetary damages in civil court. In addition, some courts may issue an injunction to order the defendant to stop whatever unlawful activities they are engaging in.

If your business has suffered financial harm due to someone else’s intentional or negligent acts, it’s important to speak with a Washington DC business litigation attorney as soon as possible.

Types of Business Torts

There are a number of different business torts, but some of the more common ones can include:

  • Tortious Interference: This is when one party interferes unlawfully with the business relationship or a contract of another party. It is deliberate, and essentially the “unlawful meddling” to harm the business relationship of another business, usually a competitor.
  • Restraint of Trade: This is an unlawful action that will prevent another party from conducting business as normal. For example, a specialized company who refuses to sell necessary materials to a particular manufacturer might be construed as conducting restraint of trade. There are exemptions to this doctrine, including lawful non-compete clause agreements.
  • Fraudulent Misrepresentation: This is where one party recklessly or falsely misrepresents its position in a contract, which causes harm or injury to another party. It can result in damages and the rescission of the contract.
  • Theft of Trade Secrets: As its name suggests, this is the theft of proprietary information from a business in order to gain an improper competitive advantage over another business.
  • Commercial Disparagement: This involves intentional defamation of a business’s property or reputation, with the end goal being to cause harm to the business.
  • Trade Libel: This is when you intentionally publish false information about the products or services of another company, and it results in a loss of profitability or revenue.

Remedies for Washington DC Business Torts

The remedies for a business tort can include a financial award to cover some losses and injunctions or restraining orders to keep the defendant from pursuing damaging actions. Financial awards are designed to cover pecuniary damages, and the losses incurred have to be calculated with “reasonable certainty.”

For an injunction, the judge may order the offending party to take back any disparaging or defamatory statements. And, it may have to sign a non-compete agreement in cases involving trade secrets. If the court orders a restraining order, it is in a tortious interference case to keep the defendant from interfering in the plaintiff’s future contracts and transactions.

Retaining a Washington DC Business Litigation Attorney

Disputes are an unfortunate side effect of having a business, but it’s important to protect your company if someone else has wronged you and has caused financial harm to your business. Speaking to a Washington DC business litigation lawyer can help you understand your legal remedies. Contact Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing at 202-362-5900 to schedule a consultation today.


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