Civil Conspiracy Attorneys In Virginia
Virginia Civil Conspiracy Attorneys at MartinWren, P.C. believe those who intentionally take unlawful actions must face the consequences of their behavior. Civil conspiracy is considered a tort that happens when two or more people are conspiring to perform an unlawful act, which leads to the injury of another. When two people conspire, they are agreeing to a plan with a particular end result. Conspiracy is not when one person acts alone. However, when a person is injured from such actions compensation can be sought from the offenders. By participating in a civil conspiracy, any co-conspirators are responsible for their own actions too.
In addition to criminalizing conspiracy, Virginia also prohibits civil conspiracy under both common law and statutory law. Virginia’s civil conspiracy statute contains two provisions: 1) prohibiting conspiracies injuring businesses and 2) prohibiting conspiracies to compel or restrain conduct.
Under Virginia’s common law civil conspiracy, a plaintiff must prove four elements to state a prima facie cause of action:
- a combination of two or more persons;
- to accomplish by some concerted action;
- some criminal or unlawful purpose or some lawful purpose by a criminal or unlawful means; and
- resultant damage caused by the defendant’s acts committed in furtherance of the conspiracy.
A plaintiff can only sue for common law conspiracy when the unlawful act underlying the claim caused the plaintiff to suffer a compensable harm. As the Virginia Supreme Court has explained: “The gist of the civil action of conspiracy is the damage caused by the acts committed in pursuance of the formed conspiracy and not the mere combination of two or more persons to accomplish an unlawful purpose or use an unlawful means.” Almy v. Grisham, 273 Va. 68, 81, 639 S.E.2d 182, 189 (2007).
Civil Conspiracy Damages
With help from VA Civil Conspiracy Attorneys, the plaintiff can prove how and what quantity of damages had resulted from the offender’s actions. Liability for damages can arise if the court concludes the defendants had intentionally committed these acts in effort of the conspiracy. Since civil conspiracy includes more than two persons, each individual is held responsible for their part in the conspiracy. The defendant is liable for injuries done to the plaintiff, which can include punitive damages if it can be proven the acts were committed with cruelness or maliciousness.
Conspiracy in Business Setting
The Virginia General Assembly has also created a statutory business conspiracy cause of action, which aggressively prohibits conspiracy in the business setting. Specifically, the conspiracy statute makes it unlawful to conspire to injure another in his or her reputation, trade, business, or profession. This statute makes a violation a criminal offense as well as creates a civil cause of action, allowing a plaintiff to sue any “conspirators” who enter into any such conspiracy. The statute also grants unique relief – prevailing plaintiffs can recover attorneys’ fees and treble, or three-fold, damages.
Civil Conspiracy Attorneys in VA at MartinWren, P.C. can talk with you more in-depth about the situation to determine whether you have grounds for a civil conspiracy lawsuit. The outcome of the lawsuit often depends up on the quality of the evidence against the offenders. Under the Virginia business conspiracy statute, a plaintiff must prove three elements to state a prima facie cause of action:
- a combination of two or more persons;
- for the purpose of willfully or malicious injuring a plaintiff in reputation, trade, business, or profession; and
- resulting in damage to the plaintiff.
As with any other tort claim, and with both common law and statutory conspiracy claims, the plaintiff must prove that it sustained damages from the alleged interference.
Laws Vary Based on State
Each state has its own set of laws pertaining to civil conspiracy tort. Some states may not consider civil conspiracy as its own separate tort, even if the acts are deemed a crime based on state law. When it comes to internet defamation, civil conspiracy of tort can become relevant in circumstances where several parties are at-fault, but a single defendant committed planned acts which were encouraged by others. Those who are considering filing a lawsuit for civil conspiracy can find out more specific information about their state laws by consulting with Civil Conspiracy Attorneys in Virginia.
Virginia’s separate claims for civil conspiracy each carry unique and important requirements. There are pleading and statute of limitations details that must be followed, and MartinWren, P.C.’s Virginia civil conspiracy attorneys have the experience to pursue or defend such claims. Our legal team at MartinWren, P.C. can provide a detailed review of your case in order to make sure your side is thoroughly and effectively presented.
If you have been injured by a conspiracy or if you have been wrongfully accused of participating in a conspiracy, contact Virginia Civil Conspiracy Attorneys at MartinWren, P.C., either John B. Simpson or Robert E. Byrne, Jr., at 434-817-3100.