Civil Conspiracy, Corporations, Independent Personal Stakes
To make a claim for civil conspiracy in Missouri, you must show that there are (1) two or more persons, (2) an unlawful objective, (3) a meeting of the minds, (4) at least one act in furtherance of the conspiracy and (5) injury to Plaintiff. Phelps v. Bross, 73 S.W.3d 651, 657 (Mo. Ct. App. 2002). Every element must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. Chmieleski v. City Products Corp., 660 S.W.2d 275-279-80 (Mo. Ct. App. 1983). There is not any “direct” liability associated with being found to be a part of a civil conspiracy. Instead, civil conspiracy operates to make those who are part of the conspiracy liable for the underlying wrongs or torts committed in furtherance of the conspiracy. This is potentially a substantial amount of liability.
This claim can vary wildly and can largely depend on context. For instance, there is precedent stating that a corporation cannot conspire with its own employees. Mika v. Central Bank of Kansas City, 112 S.W.3d 82, 94 (Mo. Ct. App. 2003). Under this reasoning, a corporation typically cannot be a co-conspirator with any of its agents because the corporation is not a separate person for purposes of civil conspiracy. However, frustratingly, there is an exception to this exception in that a corporation may be a separate person for purposes of civil conspiracy if it has an independent stake in the conspiracy separate and apart from its co-conspiring agent(s).
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