South Carolina Civil Conspiracy Attorney
What is civil conspiracy in South Carolina? What are the elements of civil conspiracy?
The elements of a civil conspiracy in South Carolina are (1) the combination of two or more people and (2) for the purpose of injuring the plaintiff. Paradis v. Charleston Cty. Sch. Dist., 433 S.C. 562, 564, 861 S.E.2d 774, 775 (2021), reh’g denied (Aug. 18, 2021). “[A] definition of conspiracy has been given as the conspiring together to do an unlawful act to the detriment of another or the doing of a lawful act in an unlawful way to the detriment of another.” Id. quoting, Charles v. Texas Co., 192 S.C. 82, 101, 5 S.E.2d 464, 472 (1939).
Up until August 2021, South Carolina courts required plaintiffs to plead “special damages” as an element of civil conspiracy. However, South Carolina was the only state that required plaintiffs plead the “special damages” element and the Supreme Court of South Carolina did away with that element in Paradis in 2021. This decision brought civil conspiracy back-to-life as a viable claim in South Carolina.
The essence of a civil conspiracy is the damage resulting from some act pursuant to an agreement. Civil conspiracy becomes actionable once an over act occurs that proximately causes damage to the plaintiff. The Supreme Court of South Carolina clarified that the (1) the combination or agreement of two or more persons, (2) to commit an unlawful act or a lawful act by unlawful means, (3) together with the commission of an overt act in furtherance of the agreement, and (4) damages.
Civil conspiracy claims in South Carolina no longer require plaintiffs to plead and prove special damages.