Legal Memorandum: Civil Conspiracy Claims in VI

Issue: Under the law of the Virgin Islands, what must a plaintiff establish to prevail on a claim of civil conspiracy?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Civil conspiracy; Tortious conduct
Jurisdiction: Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 449 A.2d 210; 337 F.3d 297
Cited Statutes: Restatement (Second) of Torts § 876(a)
Date: 04/01/2015

In Isaac v. Crichlow, No. SX-12-CV-065, 2015 V.I. LEXIS 15 (V.I. Super. Ct. Feb. 10, 2015) (Molloy, J.), the superior court found that Restatement (Second) of Torts § 876(a) reflected the common law doctrine of the Virgin Islands.  Id. at 32.  “For harm resulting to a third person from the tortious conduct of another, one is subject to liability if he does a tortious act in concert with the other pursuant to a common design with him.”  Id. (quoting Restatement (Second) of Torts § 876(a)).  Although not previously explicitly cited, it reflects the regularly cited common law definition of civil conspiracy—an agreement or combination to perform a wrongful act, or lawful act by unlawful means that result in damage to the plaintiff—is widely accepted.  Id.  A civil conspiracy cannot exist between a corporation and its agent.  Sorber v. Glacial Energy VI, LLC, No. ST-10-CV-S88, 2011 V.I. LEXIS 34, 6 (V.I. Super. Ct. June 7, 2011) (Carroll, J.) (quoting Gen. Refractories Co. v. Fireman’s Fund Ins. Co., 337 F.3d 297, 313 (3d Cir. 2003)).  Normally, a corporate officer cannot conspire with a corporation, but where a corporate officer acts solely on his/her own personal, as opposed to official, capacity, conspiracy may exist.  Id. (citing Heffernan v. Hunter, 189 F.3d 405, 412 (3d Cir. 1999)).

The Virgin Islands Supreme Court has held that a plaintiff must make a prima facie showing that the co-conspirators were aware their conduct would cause injury within the Virgin Islands.  St. Croix, Ltd. v. […]

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