Remedies for Bad Business Practices
Our firm litigates business torts (also known as economic torts) claims for individual and business plaintiffs and defendants. We focus our business torts litigation on viable claims arising from unlawful acts of deceit, disloyalty, fraud, negligent supervision, or theft in business dealings that caused substantial economic harm.
The law may not be able to force people to deal honestly with others in business transactions. But when their dishonest dealings cause substantial harm, the law does give their victims some recourse.
Bad Faith Breach of Contract
Parties to a contract have duties to one another. In most cases, these duties are explained in the contracts themselves. But there are duties the parties owe to one another that need not be explained in contracts. Parties to a contract have a duty to deal with one another in good faith at all times. They have a duty not to deal with one another fraudulently. They also have a duty not to violate criminal statutes while performing tasks they agreed to perform for one another. Insurance companies have specific duties to their insureds. Many of these duties are explained in state statutes and appellate court opinions that interpret those statutes. When a party to a contract acts in bad faith and breaches its contract with another party, civil remedies are available to the victims of these bad faith breaches.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
A fiduciary relationship between two individuals or between an individual and a business organization can arise in a variety of contexts. Corporate officers owe fiduciary duties to their corporations. Employees owe fiduciary duties to their employers. Doctors owe fiduciary duties to their patients. Trustees owe fiduciary duties to trust beneficiaries. Examples of fiduciary duties are the duty of care, the duty of loyalty, the duty to account, the duty of confidentiality, the duty of full disclosure, the duty to act fairly, and the duty of good faith and fair dealing. When individuals breach their fiduciary duties, the results of their breaches can be economic or emotional harm to others. When this occurs, legal tools are available to help the victims of these breaches.
Deceptive Trade Practices
Arizona and Colorado statutes define deceptive trade practices. Civil remedies may be available to victims of such practices. Deceptive trade practices attempt to deceive, mislead, or defraud consumers in one way or another. These practices can also disparage competitors. Victims of deceptive trade practices and unfair competition may sue the perpetrators in civil courts to recover their damages.
Fraud or Misrepresentation
Arizona and Colorado have criminal statutes that prohibit certain types of fraud. Fraud and misrepresentation victims may also seek remedies in civil courts. Fraud claims must be stated very carefully in the documents that initiate lawsuits. A key element of a fraud or misrepresentation claim is that the victim reasonably relied on the false or misleading information the perpetrator provided. In some instances, the perpetrator had a duty to disclose information and if he or she failed to disclose it, fraud or misrepresentation occurred. It is important that fraud victims who have suffered substantial damages seek out attorney advice soon after the fraud is discovered.
A viable claim for negligent supervision can arise when an employer took no reasonable steps to prevent future harm after it received notice that one of its employees or independent contractors engaged in conduct that harmed or could harm another employee, a client or customer, or a business partner. Unlike a claim for vicarious liability or respondeat superior, the employer may be held directly liable for its failure to act if it had a duty to act and its failure to act caused someone harm. For example, an employer may be held liable if one of its employees defames someone, invades someone’s privacy, or infringes someone’s intellectual property rights while using a work computer that the employer failed to reasonably monitor.
Tortious Interference with Business
When someone’s improper actions causes a party to a contract to breach the contract or causes a business to lose a prospective customer or client, the victim of the improper conduct could have legal remedies in civil court. Proving wrongful interference with an existing contract or a prospective business relationship requires proving the perpetrator intended to interfere. Expert witnesses are often needed to help prove intentional interference victims’ damages, which can make proving this claim a pricey project. But if a business suffered substantial damages due to another’s wrongful interference, the expert’s fees are generally justifiable.
Contact us to schedule a paid telephone consultation or an office consultation with an attorney who has litigated business torts cases.