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Civil Conspiracy Lawyers In Colorado

CIVIL CONSPIRACY IN COLORADO: ELEMENTS & LIABILITY

WHAT IS CIVIL CONSPIRACY?

In Colorado, civil conspiracy occurs when more than one person or entity works together to commit an unlawful goal. If you believe you or your business have been the victim of a civil conspiracy, or are being accused of committing civil conspiracy, Volpe Law can help. For more information, give us a call at 303-268-2867 or complete a consultation request form.

WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF CIVIL CONSPIRACY? (I.E., HOW DO I PROVE CIVIL CONSPIRACY?)

In order to recover on a claim of civil conspiracy in Colorado, the following elements must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence:

  • The defendants/defendant and at least one other person agreed, by words or conduct, to accomplish an unlawful goal or accomplish a goal through unlawful means;
  • One or more unlawful acts were performed to accomplish the goal or one or more acts were performed to accomplish the unlawful goal;
  • The plaintiff had injuries/damages/losses; and
  • The plaintiff’s injuries/damages/losses were caused by the acts performed to accomplish the goal.[1]

WHAT IS AN “UNLAWFUL ACT” IN A CIVIL CONSPIRACY CLAIM?

An unlawful act occurs when such act would provide the basis for an independent cause of action under Colorado law.[2] The unlawful act must be overt: this means that there must be evidence that it occurred. A bad thought does not in itself suffice.[3]

A helpful way to think about this requirement is that an unlawful act is just another word for a “tort.” Therefore, the acts constituting the underlying wrong must provide the basis for an independent cause of action. Examples of underlying torts in civil conspiracy cases include (but are not limited to):

  • Unfair competition;
  • Tortious interference with contractual obligations;
  • Breach of fiduciary duties;
  • Public nuisance;
  • Fraud/Fraudulent conveyance;
  • Unjust enrichment;
  • Libel/Slander;
  • Abuse of process;
  • Invasion of privacy;
  • Violation of civil rights; and
  • Negligent entrustment.

WHAT DAMAGES CAN I RECOVER FOR A CIVIL CONSPIRACY CLAIM?

Injuries, damages, and losses are recoverable under a claim of civil conspiracy. Because civil conspiracy is a derivative action (i.e., based on another claim sounding in tort), the recoverable damages must comport with the damages requirement associated with the underlying tort.

JOINT LIABILITY FOR DAMAGES.

Colorado statutory law provides that defendants who consciously conspire and deliberately pursue a common plan or design to commit a “tortious act” shall be jointly liable to a plaintiff, rather than only individually liable for their proportion of personal fault.[4] In other words, a claim for damages arising from a civil conspiracy may be pled as a separate claim, and liability may be imposed on a single defendant for conspiratorial acts with others who have not been joined in the action. In such a case, liability may be imposed upon a defendant for the fault of all other joint tortfeasors, regardless of whether they have settled with the plaintiff and not been joined in the action.[5] This is what makes civil conspiracy stand out from other causes of action in tort.

Importantly, the term “tortious act” is defined as including any conduct other than breach of contract that constitutes a civil wrong and causes injury or damages.[6]

CONCLUSION

Civil conspiracy is a powerful claim for individuals and businesses who have been harmed by coordinated efforts of more than one person or entity. At Volpe Law, our attorneys are ready to help you with your potential claim/defense: give us a call as 303-268-2867 or complete a consultation request form for more information on how we can help!

[1] CJI §27:1.

[2] Falcon Broadband, Inc. v. Banning Lewis Ranch Metro. Dist. No. 1, 2018 COA 92, 474 P.3d 1231.

[3] CJI §27:1, Source and Authority ¶2.

[4] C.R.S. §13-21-111.5(4).

[5] CJI §27:1, Source and Authority ¶4 (citing Pierce v. Wiglesworth, 903 P.2d 656 (Colo. App. 1994)).

[6] Resolution Tr. Corp. v. Heiserman, 898 P.2d 1049 (Colo. 1995).

DISCLAIMER

The information contained on this website is provided for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be construed as providing legal advice on any subject matter.  Laws frequently change and therefore this content is not necessarily up to date, nor comprehensive. Contact us or another attorney with any legal questions specific to your matter. You may request a consultation by completing our consultation request form.

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