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Civil Conspiracy Claims

Civil conspiracies may exist in civil cases for money damages or equitable relief (e.g., breach of contract and tort claims such a breach of fiduciary duty). While civil conspiracy has its own separate elements, it is not a distinct  cause of action. Breeden v. Hueser, 273 S.W.3d 1, 13 (Mo. Ct. App. 2008). It functions to hold the conspirators jointly and severally liable for underlying, improper conduct. 8000 Maryland, LLC v. Hutleigh Fin. Services, Inc., 292 S.W.3d 439, 451 (Mo. Ct. App. 2001). Therefore, the core of the action is not the conspiracy itself, but the wrong done by acts in furtherance of the conspiracy resulting in damage to plaintiff. Id.

The elements of a civil conspiracy claim are (1) two or more persons, (2) an unlawful objective, a (3) meeting of the minds, (4) one act in furtherance of the conspiracy and (5) damages. Oak Bluff Partners, Inc. v. Meyer, 3 S.W.3d 777, 781 (Mo. 1999). In Missouri, if tortious or improper acts alleged as elements of a civil conspiracy fail, then the civil conspiracy claim fails as well. Id. “Unlawful” for purposes of a civil conspiracy is not limited to conduct that is criminally liable; for example, it may include individuals associating for the purpose of causing or inducing a breach of contract or business expectancy. Lyn-Flex West, Inc. v. Dieckhaus, 24 S.W.3d 693, 700-01 (Mo. Ct. App. 1999).

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