Economic Injury Claims and Defenses in Commercial Litigation

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An “economic injury” is an injury to someone’s business which hinders his ability to make money, an injury to someone’s expectation that a business arrangement will make money, or an injury to a person’s chance to enter a business that may have made money.

An economic injury results in damage solely to a person’s money-related interests.

There are four main categories of economic injury:

  • Fraud- In a fraud case, the plaintiff generally claims that the defendant negligently or deliberately gave false information, misrepresented the information, or kept relevant information secret in order to induce the plaintiff to enter or avoid a business relationship; the result of all being that the defendant caused the plaintiff to lose money.
  • Tortious interference- Tortious interference may come in one of two types, tortious interference with a contract and tortious interference with a business relationship. A tortious interference suit is a claim that the defendant interfered with a relationship between the plaintiff and a third party which caused the plaintiff to lose money or economic opportunity.
  • Restraint of trade- A restraint of trade case is also known as an antitrust case. In a restraint of trade case, the plaintiff claims that he lost money or economic opportunity because the defendant used unfair trade practices, like boycotting or price-fixing.
  • Conspiracy- Conspiracy claims allege that the defendant committed fraud, tortious interference, or restraint of trade with the help from one or more parties. These parties may be listed as defendants in the same case, a separate complaint, or not at all.

Economic injuries should not be confused with economic damages, compensatory damages, or consequential damages which are damages whose exact amounts can be established with bills, receipts, and similar financial records.

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