Business litigation often involves an allegation that two or more defendants engaged in a conspiracy to willfully and maliciously injure the plaintiff in his reputation, trade, business or profession. Such claims are especially popular in Virginia, where a business-conspiracy statute expressly prohibits such conspiracies and allows the recovery of triple damages as well as reimbursement of attorneys' fees to a successful plaintiff. If such a claim is made against your company, do not be intimidated into offering an undeserved settlement. The attorneys at BerlikLaw are very familiar with the case law interpreting Virginia's business conspiracy statute and know how to shoot down such claims when they are not warranted.
Firm founder Lee Berlik has successfully argued for the dismissal of conspiracy claims where, for example, the claim was barred by the intracorporate-immunity doctrine, where the plaintiff failed to plead the claim with the requisite particularity, and where the plaintiff failed to identify any damage to business interests as required by the statute. A heightened pleading standard applies to business conspiracy claims in Virginia, and if the plaintiff cannot meet this standard, we will get the claim thrown out.
One reason our firm has such insight into our opponents' strategies is that we have experience and familiarity with both the plaintiff's and the defendant's side of business litigation cases. Our committment is to our clients, regardless of which side of the table they happen to find themselves on. When bringing a business conspiracy claim on behalf of a client, we know that thorough preparation, diligent document review, and a detailed, fully substantiated complaint are essential first steps. By the same token, when defending our clients against such claims, we know how important it is to investigate and defend the claim quickly, especially in federal court.
Business conspiracy claims are usually nothing more than an effort by the plaintiff's attorney to connect a group of defendants to make it easier to collect a judgment or to allow him to plead for an award of "treble damages" and attorneys' fees. Even where such allegations are without merit, however, they require immediate investigation and must be treated seriously. With the proper legal counsel, you can usually emerge from such litigation unscathed.