Virginia is one of only a small number of states in the United States to recognize a claim for business conspiracy, otherwise known as statutory conspiracy. The Virginia General Assembly enacted a criminal statute, which can be found in Virginia’s criminal code. The statute makes it a crime for any person to conspire with another person for the purpose of harming another person in their reputation, trade, business, or profession. But interestingly, the General Assembly also enacted a statute that allows a person harmed by such a conspiracy to file a civil lawsuit for damages.
To prove a claim for business conspiracy, it is necessary for the Plaintiff to prove that the defendant (or defendants) acted in concert, agreed, associated, mutually undertook, or combined together to intentionally, purposefully, and without lawful justification injure the plaintiff’s reputation, trade, business, or profession. When a plaintiff is able to prove these elements and is also able to prove that they were damaged as a result of such a conspiracy, then a civil claim for business conspiracy exists.
One of the most interesting things about a claim for statutory or business conspiracy under Virginia law is the prospect of recovering “treble damages,” attorneys’ fees, and lost profits. The Virginia statute entitling an injured person to sue civilly provides that the injured person may “recover three-fold the damages by him sustained, and the costs of suit, including a reasonable fee to plaintiff’s counsel, and without limiting the generality of the term, ‘damages’ shall include loss of profits.”
If you believe that you, or your business, have been the victim of someone conspiring with another person to harm you in your reputation, trade, business, or profession, you owe it to yourself to consult with an experienced attorney in this area of the law.