Conspiracy to Injure Trade and Business
Virginia Code § 18.2-499 makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor if two or more people combine, associate, agree, mutually undertake or concert together for the purpose of (i) willfully and maliciously injuring another in their reputation, trade, business or profession by any means whatever or (ii) willfully and maliciously compelling another to do or perform any act against their will, or preventing or hindering another from doing or performing any lawful act.
Under Va. Code § 18.2-500, anyone injured by a violation of Va. Code § 18.2-499, may bring a civil action and recover treble damages as a result. In order to recover in an action for conspiracy to harm a business, the plaintiff must prove (1) a combination of two or more persons for the purpose of willfully and maliciously injuring the plaintiff in his business, and (2) resulting damage to the plaintiff. Examples would be two or more people conspiring and publishing defamatory statements about a person and their business, or two or more people conspiring to force an individual out of business.
You should consult with an attorney if your business has been damaged by individuals involved in a conspiracy, or if you have been named in a complaint as being a co-conspirator. These cases are serious, and they can result in major damages being claimed and potentially proven. Litigation involving conspiracy to injure a person’s trade or business is high stakes and very complex. The Attorneys at Hale Ball have brought and defended such actions.
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