Barry Horwitz


Civil rights conspiracy law has drifted dramatically far from its intended purpose. Courts regularly apply the intracorporate conspiracy doctrinea principle holding that officers and agents of the same corporation are incapable of conspiring when they act on behalf of the corporationto prevent civil rights conspiracy plaintiffs from vindicating violations of their rights. While the intracorporate conspiracy doctrine was originally used to shield officers of private corporations from antitrust liability, it is now used to shield state actors who abuse their positions of power. Applying the doctrine in this way not only contradicts the intent of Congress in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1871, but also contravenes traditional theories of corporate law, which recognize that the corporate entity should not be used to effectuate injustice. This Comment analyzes the intracorporate conspiracy doctrine and its improper extension to the civil rights arena through the lens of the piercing-the-corporate-veil doctrine and argues that the former doctrine should never have been applied to civil rights conspiracy claims.