When Free Speech Mutates into Contract Interference
You have your opinions. Must everyone else agree with you? How far will you go? Will you end up in court?
If a business does something you don’t like, would you stage a boycott? Would you take it a step further, and attempt to put them out of business? Having the right to express your views under the First Amendment is crucial to a healthy nation. But when do such actions mutate and land you in court?
Recently, activists’ angry reactions have led to businesses suffering. The law provides a defense: Tortious Interference with Contractual Relations (or “TICR”). This claim is brought when a defendant intentionally interferes with a valid contract, and the plaintiff suffers damages from the interference. As the cases indicate, significant money damages are awarded.
Of course, many activities where people voice their displeasure are protected under the First Amendment. But there have been several recent cases where free speech has crossed the proverbial line into one of TICR.