Business Law

Business Law includes many areas of the law.  From common law protection of personal and property rights to negligence, tort, and intentional torts.  Property rights include intellectual property such as trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets.  Business law includes disputes with regard to contract rights and obligation, negotiable instruments, credit, and bankruptcy, and sales laws.

Business owners are always worried that they are going to be sued for a mistake or an omission in their performance or delivering their products or services.  This can include a person being harmed by a product, a person harmed by a business or the employee of the business, or a business being harmed by another business or person.  For example, many accidents result in damages to a person or to property.

Since these types of cases are not criminal, the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant’s actions, more probable than not ,caused the injury to the plaintiff.  In contrast, in criminal violations the state must prove the defendant’s actions were beyond a reasonable doubt in violation of the law.

Generally, most torts do not involve criminal acts.  So, tort law is private law and criminal law is usually public law.  Though some civil torts can rise to a criminal level.

Torts for negligence are from harm from others even though it was unintentional such as legally careless conduct.  For a tort to be actionable there must be a duty of care that is conducted that creates an unreasonable risk of harm, including financial harm or injury to others.  A person can be negligent if they violated a certain standard of reasonableness depending on the circumstances.

Causation is a key element in showing the defendant’s actions or inaction approximately caused the damages or injury to the plaintiff. This area of law continually evolves for example in some circumstances the plaintiff may have assumed the risk such as in sports.

Intentional torts is where the plaintiff can show the defendant intentionally caused the damages and this can be more difficult to prove.

Defamation is an intentional false communication. That injures a person’s reputation.

In all of these cases, one must still show actual damages.  Also, if someone suffers an injury from deliberate misrepresentation or fraud this can result in an intentional tort.  Again, the plaintiff must show damages, intention, privity between the parties, and the causation, that the plaintiff relied on the misstatement suffering losses.  

Intentional interference with a contract can also occur where the defendant has knowledge of the contract, the defendant intentionally induced a party to breach the contract without justification, and damages occurred from the wrongful interference.