The Fifth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of a chemical company in a toxic tort case in which plaintiff alleged the defendant engaged in a civil conspiracy to sell a component of mustard gas. Adams v. Alcolac Inc., 974 F.3d 540, 542 (5th Cir. 2020), as revised (Sept. 25, 2020).
Plaintiffs were primarily former U.S. military personnel who alleged they were injured by Saddam Hussein’s use of mustard gas during the Gulf War. The plaintiffs sought to hold Alcolac, Inc. liable for these injuries because, they alleged, it illegally provided the government of Iraq with thiodiglycol, which is used to make ink and other products, but allegedly was then used here to create mustard gas.
After many years of prior proceedings, the remaining tort claim was for civil conspiracy. Under applicable Texas law, a civil conspiracy requires:
(1) a combination of two or more persons; (2) the persons seek to accomplish an object or course of action; (3) the persons reach a meeting of the minds on the object or course of action; (4) one or more unlawful, overt acts are taken in pursuance of the object or course of action; and (5) damages occur as a proximate result.