A wrongful act committed against a business is referred to as a business tort or economic tort. These acts encompass any illegal conduct that disrupts the normal functioning of a business. Business torts can be intentional, unintentional, or fall somewhere in between. Examples of common business torts include breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of confidential information, tortious interference, civil theft, conversion, misrepresentation, fraud, deceptive and unfair trade practices acts such as FDUTPA, (, defamation and conspiracy. These torts involve the violation of fundamental business principles, such as truthfulness and contain an element of intentionality to do harm.
Business torts and crimes are intricate, with many overlaps that can blur the boundaries with other fields of study. Our firm provides detailed and thorough analysis, pinpointing the most crucial aspects of each case. These are some of the disputes we represent:
Fraudulent Business Practices
Fraudulent business practices such as those listed below give rise to fraud, fraud in the inducement and constructive fraud claims. Basically, any deceptive business activity that causes financial harm to a company or individual is considered fraud, the most common forms being:
- Asset misappropriation
- Misuse of company assets
- Misappropriation of Confidential Information
- Business partner fraud
- Payroll fraud
- Internal theft
- False invoicing
- Misrepresentations of material facts
Fraud is a serious matter that not only results in significant financial losses but can also damage a company’s reputation. For more information on Fraud click here.
A fiduciary is an individual or entity who is entrusted with managing the assets or interests of another. The fiduciary is expected to act in the principal’s best interests. There may be severe legal repercussions if the fiduciary acts against the principal’s interests or for their own benefit without permission. For more information on breach of fiduciary duty click here.
Misappropriation of Confidential Information refers to the legal action taken against a third party who has acquired or misused a company’s confidential information or trade secrets through illicit means, such as theft or unauthorized access. For more information on misappropriation of confidential information click here.
Tortious interference occurs when a third party intentionally disrupts a business relationship or contract. This interference can take various forms, including violating non-compete or non-solicitation agreements, using unfair competition methods such as misappropriating trade secrets or confidential information, posting false information about a business to scare off customers, or employing improper inducements. For example, if neighbors put up fake for-sale signs to derail an auction of a neighbor’s condo unit, it can be considered tortious interference. For more information on tortious interference click here.
Civil theft is distinct from criminal theft and involves a lawsuit in which the victim, known as the “injured party,” seeks monetary compensation for the unlawful taking of money or property from a business. Property can include intangible property such as client list and confidential and commercially sensitive information. This legal action is taken in civil court, and the injured party may recover not only the value of the property taken, but three times the amount of the property taken if the party who took the money or property refuses to return the property within thirty (30) days of a receipt of a statutory demand letter. For more information on Civil Theft click here.
Conversion is a legal concept that is related to civil theft. In a civil theft lawsuit, the victim has the opportunity to recover their stolen property and the circumstances make it clear that the party who took the property, had the intention to “steal” the property. In cases of conversion, however, the person who took the property intends to use it for personal gain and does not intend to return it to the rightful owner, either permanently or for an indefinite amount of time. Under Florida law, the elements of conversion include: (1) the wrongful assertion of dominion; (2) over someone else’s property; and (3) in a manner that is inconsistent with the rightful owner’s ownership. Conversion is very similar to civil theft, however conversion does not require the injured party to prove the intentionality of the taking, just the wrongful taking. depriving or converting of the property, whether temporarily or permanently. Further, unlike civil theft, conversion does not permit the recovery of tremble damages. For more information on Conversion click here.
Misrepresentation is a type of fraud where a company or individual deliberately misleads or deceives another party, causing harm to their business or person. If this occurs, the harmed party may be able to seek financial compensation and punitive damages for their losses. However, it is important to conduct a thorough investigation to gather clear and compelling evidence to support the claim that the wrongdoer misstated a material fact with the intention of defrauding or misleading you or your business in order to win a judgment in a civil court. For more information on misrepresentation click here.
Florida has established laws and regulations to safeguard businesses and consumers from dishonest or unethical practices. These laws include the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (“FDUTPA”), which is designed to protect consumers and businesses from deceptive or unfair commercial practices. For more information on Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices click here.
Florida has defamation laws that protect individuals and companies from false statements that harm their reputations. Defamation is broadly defined as a false statement published or spoken to a third party that causes harm to the reputation of the person or company the statement is about.. For more information on Defamation click here.
Businesses in Florida should be aware of civil conspiracy, a legal concept with significant implications. Civil conspiracy involves two or more individuals or entities conspiring to commit a business tort or illegal act such as misrepresentation, tortious interference, deceptive trade practices, misappropriation, fraud, theft, or defamation. For more information on Conspiracy click here.
Navigating the Complexities of Business Tort and Fraud Claims with Experienced Legal Counsel
Whether prosecuting or defending against a business tort or fraud claim, the litigation process for these cases can be complex and challenging and require a high degree of legal expertise and experience. An experienced attorney can help companies navigate the complex legal landscape of these types of claims, including identifying potential defenses, negotiating with opposing counsel, and representing their interests in court.
The consequences of a business tort or fraud claim can be severe, including financial damages, loss of reputation, and potentially even criminal charges. It is critical that companies facing such claims have a skilled and experienced legal team on their side to protect their rights and interests.
At the Campbell Law Group, we have extensive experience in prosecuting and defending companies, officers and owners against business tort and fraud claims. Our team of skilled attorneys has a deep understanding of the legal and financial complexities involved in these types of cases, and we are dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of our clients. We work closely with our clients to understand their unique needs and goals and develop customized legal strategies to achieve the best possible outcomes for their cases.
If your company is facing a business tort or fraud claim, call us at (305) 460-0145 or click here to schedule a consultation today with one of our experienced attorneys. We are here to help you protect your business and your future.
Frequently Asked Questions
What constitutes a business tort?
A tort is defined as an intentional or negligent act or conduct by one party that causes harm to another. In the business world, a business tort refers to wrongdoings that occur in a professional setting between companies, contractors, partners, employees, and customers. Examples of business torts include the use of a business to commit fraud schemes, crimes such as embezzlement, theft and use of misrepresentations of material facts designed to get a business or person to act to their detriment. There are many other types of business torts, and it is important to speak to an attorney to determine if your case has merit.
Is a tort the same as a crime?
Although “tort” and “crime” are often used interchangeably, they refer to different concepts. A tort is a civil wrongdoing that results in harm to another, which can include acts of negligence. On the other hand, a crime is a violation of the law that can result in criminal charges. While some business torts, such as theft, embezzlement, identity theft, and discrimination, are also considered criminal acts, it is important to note that not all torts are crimes. An individual who commits a business tort may be subject to both criminal and civil charges.
Do I need to prove malicious intent?
With most business torts, you do not need to prove malicious intent to establish a business tort. Negligent behavior, mistakes, errors, and carelessness can all be valid grounds for a business tort claim. Even if an individual’s actions cause harm to others due to an “honest mistake,” such as not reading the contract’s terms thoroughly, they cannot escape liability. The court’s liability and proof requirements may differ depending on the nature of the wrongdoing.
How long do I have to file a claim?
The deadline for filing a claim varies depending on the type of claim. In general, the time limit for filing a business tort claim varies depending on the type of claim, the state where the claim is filed, and the applicable statute of limitations. Typically, the statute of limitations for business torts in Florida is four (4) years, however that can vary depending on the tort and the circumstances of the case. Circumstances or facts which can toll (extend) the statute of limitations may include concealment of a fraud, when was the last act of the fraud, when was the fraud was uncovered or should have been uncovered. Further, consideration and analysis of whether the tort is based on a contract or other legal claims should be taken into consideration when determining the statute of limitations. It’s important to consult an attorney in Florida who specializes in business tort law to determine the specific time limits for your case. They will be able to advise you on the relevant laws and deadlines and help you file your claim in a timely manner.
Do I need an attorney for my business tort claim?
Business tort cases can be very intricate, and the complexity can depend on the specific circumstances. Although it is possible to represent or defend yourself in a business tort case, it is not advisable. The same is not true for your business, each business in the State of Florida must be represented by counsel in court, except in small claims court.
Is filing a claim worth it?
Obtaining a case evaluation can help you determine the potential value of your claim. The value of your claim will depend on the extent of the damages you have suffered. In addition to financial damages such as loss of income and profit, you may also be entitled to compensation for non-economic damages like damage to your reputation. In business torts involving malice, intent, or gross negligence, the courts may also award punitive damages. Ultimately, whether filing a claim is worth it will depend on your case’s specific circumstances, and consulting with an experienced attorney can help you make an informed decision. Call us at (305) 460-0145 or click here for a consultation.