Houston Business Litigation Lawyers
Not everything in business goes as planned. That’s especially true when it comes to the complex and often high stakes relationships and transactions businesses enter into with other parties that have the potential to harm their interests. Fortunately, the civil justice system is designed to handle these private matters by allowing businesses that suffer losses as a result of civil wrongs, known as “torts,” to seek accountability and legal remedy.
At Hendershot, Cowart & Hisey, P.C., our Texas trial attorneys represent wronged businesses that wish to pursue legal action for all types of business torts, as well as businesses which must defend themselves against claims and liability. To our peers and our opponents, we have earned a reputation as proven professionals who fight intelligently and aggressively on behalf of clients, and who are equipped with the breadth of experience and resources to pursue positive resolutions in a range of matters.
What Are Business Torts?
Unlike other civil torts, including those involving injury to a person or property, business torts involve wrongs which cause (or are likely to cause) some type of harm to business interests. This may include a loss of business relationships or opportunities, loss of clients, reputational harm, and more.
In business law, torts differ from contract disputes in that common law, rather than a written agreement, provides the rules for liability arising from wrongs committed by an individual or entity against a business.
This means there must be a few general elements present in order to bring a civil business action, or business tort, against a defendant:
- Duty to act
- Breach of duty
There are a number of business torts plaintiffs may bring against an alleged offender. Common examples include:
- Fraud & Misrepresentation – Fraud and misrepresentation cases require plaintiffs to prove that another party intentionally misrepresented a material fact, which they relied on and, as a result, suffered harm. Torts may also arise from negligent misrepresentation.
- Tortious Interference – Tortious interference occurs when an individual or entity unlawfully interferes with a plaintiff’s business interests, including contractual relations and prospective business. Plaintiffs who bring these actions must prove the defendant’s actions exceeded what would be considered “fair” competition, such as threatening a third party to not do business with a competitor.
- Theft of Trade Secrets – Theft of trade secrets occurs when an individual or entity (such as a former employee, contractor, or competitor) unlawfully obtains and uses confidential business information to the detriment of that business. This tort can involve disputes over whether or not information is truly a “trade secret,” and whether or not businesses took reasonable steps to keep that information confidential.
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty – Fiduciaries have legal obligations to act in the best interests of another party, such as the duty company board members owe to shareholders. A breach of fiduciary duty occurs when those parties fail to act in accordance to that duty, and can provide wronged parties with a recovery of damages or other remedies.
Backed by over 130 years of collective experience, our legal team is prepared to bring and defend against these and a range of other business torts, including unfair competition, injurious falsehood (commercial disparagement), conversion of stock, unjust enrichment restraint of trade, civil conspiracy, and more. We are also available to help minority shareholders explore their options for pursuing claims over shareholder oppression following Texas’ landmark ruling to strike down the common law cause of action.
Remedies for Business Torts
While every case is unique, business torts generally provide wronged businesses with the opportunity to secure remedies through the court. These may include:
- Damages, including actual damages caused by lost profits
- Punitive Damages, which can be pursued in some cases, and particularly those involving malice or fraud.
- Equitable Remedies, which may include injunctions to stop injurious actions, fee forfeiture, profit disgorgement, an accounting, a rescission, a court-appointed receiver or removal of trustee, and a “hold” on funds or property.
One prevailing aspect in business torts is the complexity of seeking the most appropriate remedy and calculating damages. However, those issues can be effectively addressed and resolved with the assistance of experienced business law attorneys who leverage both experience and resources.
Protect Your Rights with Proven Texas Business Lawyers
Hendershot, Cowart & Hisey, P.C. is a Houston-based law firm serving individuals and businesses throughout the state of Texas and beyond. If you wish to learn more about our business litigation services, business torts, and your particular situation, contact us to speak with a member of our team.