Legal Memorandum: Civil Conspiracy in WI

Issue: What are the elements of civil conspiracy in Wisconsin?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence
Keywords: Civil conspiracy; Malice; Wilful injury
Jurisdiction:  Wisconsin
Cited Cases: 162 Wis. 2d 73
Cited Statutes: Wis. Stat. § 134.01
Date: 01/01/2015

In Wisconsin there are two types of civil conspiracy claims; the first is based on Wis. Stat. § 134.01; the second is based on common law conspiracy.  See Barrow v. First Fin. Sav. Ass’n, 142 Wis. 2d 939 (Wis. Ct. App. 1987). 

Elements of Conspiracy Claim Pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 134.01

Wis. Stat. § 134.01 makes it unlawful for

[a]ny 2 or more persons . . . [to] combine, associate, agree, mutually undertake or concert together for the purpose of willfully or maliciously injuring another in his or her reputation, trade, business or profession by any means whatever, or for the purpose of maliciously compelling another to do or perform any act against his or her will, or preventing or hindering another from doing or performing any lawful act . . . .


Courts construing this statute have said that a claim for a civil conspiracy under § 134.01 requires a showing that (1) the alleged conspirators acted together; (2) with a common purpose to injure plaintiff’s business or reputation; (3) with malice; and (4) the acts financially injured plaintiff.  Zwiacher v. Cmty. Hlth. Network Inc., 2009 Wisc. App. Lexis 154, at 21 (Wis. Ct. App. Mar. 11, 2009) (citing WIS JI-CIVIL 2820 (2008)).  There are at least two aspects to this statutory claim that distinguish it from common law conspiracy. 

First, malice is an essential element of statutory conspiracy but not common law conspiracy.  Faber v. Hot Spur Ptrs. PLLC, 2005 Wisc. App Lexis […]

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