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Civil Conspiracy Claims in Pennsylvania

“Civil conspiracy occurs when two or more persons combine or agree intending to commit an unlawful act or do an otherwise lawful act by unlawful means.”  Weaver v. Franklin County, 918 A.2d 194, 202 (Pa.Cmwlth. 2007).  A plaintiff bringing a civil conspiracy claim is required to aver “material facts which will either directly or inferentially establish elements of conspiracy.”  Id.  Additionally, a plaintiff must allege (1) the persons combined with a common purpose to do an unlawful act or to do a lawful act by unlawful means or unlawful purpose, (2) an overt act in furtherance of the common purpose has occurred, and (3) the plaintiff has incurred actual legal damage.  Id.  Importantly, absent a civil cause of action for a particular underlying act, there can be no cause of action for civil conspiracy to commit that act.  McKeeman v. Corestates Bank, N.A., 751 A.2d 655 (Pa.Super. 2000).

“Proof of malice, i.e., an intent to injure, is an essential part of a conspiracy cause of action; this unlawful intent must also be without justification.”  Reading Radio, Inc. v. Fink, 833 A.2d 199, 212 (Pa.Super. 2003).  Further, all of the elements of a claim for civil conspiracy may be proven circumstantially by subsequent acts of the alleged conspirators, provided that the evidence is “full, clear and satisfactory.”  Id.

If you think you might have an action for a civil conspiracy claim, or if you have been sued for committing civil conspiracy, please contact the experienced lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green in Philadelphia, who are licensed to practice law in all courts in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.