law-civil conspiracy

civil conspiracy claim requires an underlying tort claim.  See Ernst & Young, L.L.P. v. Pac. Mut. Life Ins. Co., 51 S.
W.3d 573, 583 (Tex. 2001).  

Civil conspiracy Cause of Action

To establish civil conspiracy, Bluebonnet must show that Robinson and Kolkhorst had a meeting of the
minds on an object or course of action, and that one of the members committed an unlawful, overt act in
furtherance of the object or course of action.  Chon Tri v. J.T.T., 162 S.W.3d 552, 556 (Tex. 2005).

In civil law, a conspiracy involves “a combination of two or more persons with an unlawful purpose or a
lawful purpose to be accomplished by unlawful means.” Ernst & Young, L.L.P. v. Pacific Mut. Life Ins.
Co., 51 S.W.3d 573, 583 (Tex. 2001)

A party may be liable for conspiracy to commit a tort even if he is not personally liable for the underlying
tort. But there must be an underlying tort committed by at least one of the named defendants, and the
party must have participated in that tort. See Cotten v. Weatherford Bancshares, Inc., 187 S.W.3d 687,
701 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 2006, pet. denied).


To recover on an action for civil conspiracy, the plaintiff must prove: (1) the defendant and another person acted
together, (2) they acted to accomplish an object (an unlawful purpose or a lawful purpose by unlawful means), (3)
they had a meeting of the minds on the object or course of action, (4) they committed one or more unlawful acts,
and (5) the plaintiff suffered damages as the proximate result of the unlawful acts.  Ins. Co. Of N. Am. v. Morris,
981 S.W.2d 667, 675 (Tex. 1998).  In his motion for summary judgment, Manley argued there is no evidence
supporting any of the elements  of conspiracy.
Samson v. Manley (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 6, 2009)(Anderson)
client' suit against his lawyer and opposing counsel, summary judgment on multiple causes of actions affirmed,
underlying suit:
workers compensation suit)  
AFFIRMED: Opinion by
Justice Anderson  
Before Justices Anderson, Guzman and Boyce
14-07-01085-CV  Fred Samson v. James Manley and Don Jackson   
Appeal from 125th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge:
John A. Coselli  
Appellant provided no evidence of conspiracy and merely alleged that “all" defendants conspired against him
because he is not proficient in English and is a “simple" blue collar worker.  One of the essential elements
required to establish a civil conspiracy is a meeting of the minds on the object or course of action.  Schlumberger
Well Surveying Corp. v. Nortex Oil & Gas Corp., 435 S.W.2d 854, 857 (Tex. 1969).  There is no evidence of a
meeting of the minds between the defendants.  Appellant points out no specific facts establishing any of the
elements of conspiracy.  Appellant did not attach any evidence of conspiracy to his response as required by rule
166a(i).  See Tex. R. Civ. P. 166a(i).  Specifically, appellant presented no evidence on the third element of
conspiracy, a meeting of the minds.  The trial court did not err in granting Manley's no-evidence motion for
summary judgment.

Bluebonnet Petroleum, Inc. v. Kolkhorst Petroleum (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 9, 2008)(Substitute
opinion by Brown) (SJ, admissible evidence,
no theft of theft of trade secrets, breach a fiduciary duty, tortious
As evidence of the alleged conspiracy, Bluebonnet points to phone calls between Robinson and Kolkhorst and
the fact that Kolkhorst eventually signed a contract with Circle G.  But this amounts to no evidence of either a
meeting of the minds or of any unlawful act by either Robinson or Kolkhorst.  Although proof of a civil conspiracy
may be, and usually must be, made by circumstantial evidence, vital facts may not be proved by unreasonable
inferences from other facts and circumstances. Schlumberger Well Surveying Corp. v. Nortex Oil & Gas Corp.,
435 S.W.2d 854, 858 (Tex. 1968); SP Midtown, Ltd., 2008 WL 1991747, at *9.  In its motion for rehearing
Bluebonnet argues that the evidence of phone calls between Robinson and Kolkhorst qualifies as sufficient
circumstantial evidence to establish a civil conspiracy.  But Bluebonet offers no evidence of the content of these
phone calls.  Consequently, the application of such evidence relies upon speculation rather than reasonable
inference.  The trial court did not err in granting summary judgment on Bluebonnet's civil conspiracy claim.

In conclusion, summary judgment was proper as to Bluebonnet's claims against Kolkhorst for theft of trade secrets
or confidential information, inducement to breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with prospective business
relations, and conspiracy.