Business Torts

Business Torts Lawyers: Legal Guidance for Chicago and Illinois Clients

Many social wrongs arise not because of an express agreement but because of certain kinds of interactions. A tort is a civil wrong that causes loss or harm. Some common examples include libel, defamation, fraud and deceptive practices.

Common Torts Involving Entities in Illinois

Business torts are often complex and arise out of a commercial relationship. They can result in tangible financial harm, as well as intangible harm to goodwill, reputation, and economic interests. Some common business torts include fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, deceptive business practices, trade libel, defamation, and tortious interference with a contract.


Fraud is one of the most common business torts, and can arise in numerous contexts, including securities disputes, real estate disputes, and class actions.

To prove fraud, several things are necessary. You need to:

  • Identify a false statement of material fact that was made by a defendant who knew of the falsity;
  • the defendant must have intended to induce the plaintiff to act;
  • the plaintiff must have relied on the statement’s truth; and
  • the plaintiff must have suffered damages because it relied on the statement.

Tortious Interference With A Business Contract

Another common business tort is the intentional or tortious interference with a business contract or prospective economic advantage. Business relationships have value that should be free from unjustified interference by an outside party.

To recover for tortious interference with a contract, you need to show that:

  • There was a valid and enforceable contract between you and another party;
  • the defendant knew of the contractual relationship;
  • the defendant intentionally and unjustifiably induced a contractual breach;
  • the breach of the contract was caused by the defendant; and
  • that the plaintiff suffered damages.

Tortious Interference With Prospective Economic Advantage

Tortious interference with prospective economic advantage is alleged when there was no contract between the plaintiff and another party. In order to establish this cause of action in Illinois, you need to prove:

  • You had a reasonable expectation of entering a business relationship;
  • The defendant knew of this expectation;
  • The defendant intentionally and unjustifiably interfered such that it induced or caused a breach in expectation; and
  • You were harmed because of the interference.


A defamation cause of action can provide protection against an offensive false statement about a business. This requires showing that the defendant made a false statement that was published to a third party, the statement was unprivileged, and it caused you harm. Whether a statement is a fact or opinion will need to be decided based on whether it has a “core of meaning” about which there is a consensus of understanding, whether it is capable of being objectively verified as true or false, and whether its context or setting would influence the reader’s readiness to see it as a fact. Truth is a defense to defamation.

Chicago Business Torts Lawyers

Often, several business torts are alleged in a lawsuit because the specific facts may not fit solely and squarely within one theory of recovery, and their merits may best be resolved through mediation or adjudicated by a jury. At the Voelker Litigation Group, our experienced business tort lawyers offer assistance to clients who are bringing or fighting these claims.

Voelker Litigation Group: We Don’t Just Stand on Our Reputation; We Put it to Work for You.