Civil conspiracy is a tort that occurs when two or more persons conspire to do an unlawful act and injury is caused to another from the commission of that act. A conspiracy is two or more persons agreeing to a plan to cause a particular result to occur. Conspiracy is not a cause of action alone, but it is a theory that imposes liability on defendants who share with the other conspirators a common plan or design in its commission. By participation in a civil conspiracy, a co-conspirator adopts, as his or her own the actions of other co-conspirators. In this way, a co-conspirator is liable with the other conspirators.
The Elements of a Civil Conspiracy
The following five elements are generally required to prove the tort of civil conspiracy:
• There are two or more persons involved.
• The defendants have an unlawful objective.
• The defendants come to an agreement on the objective or means to achieve the objective.
• The defendants commit one or more overt acts in furtherance of the conspiracy.
• The defendants’ actions result in causing an injury or damages to the plaintiff.
What are the Damages for Civil Conspiracy?
An action for damages can be brought by a plaintiff for the injury caused by the acts committed in the furtherance of a conspiracy. Liability for damages will arise if a court finds that defendants intentionally committed some harmful act in furtherance of the conspiracy that caused injury. Each conspirator is jointly and severally liable for each act done by other conspirators, even if a particular member of the conspiracy did not take any acts that lead to the injury. A defendant is liable for all foreseeable injuries to the plaintiff, including punitive damages if the act is malicious or cruel enough.
Internet Civil Conspiracy Attorneys
The laws regarding the tort of civil conspiracy vary from state to state. Several states do not even recognize civil conspiracy as a separate tort, even if conspiracy exists as a crime under a state’s criminal laws. In the context of Internet defamation, the tort of civil conspiracy can become particularly relevant in situations where multiple parties are at fault, but only one defendant actually committed acts planned or encouraged by others.
If you believe that you or your business is a victim of a civil conspiracy involving the internet, contact the experienced internet attorneys at Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA to evaluate your case. Call (216) 831-0042 today to find out more information.