The general rule is that “an act which constitutes no ground of action against one person cannot be made the basis of a civil action for conspiracy,” 105 So.2d at 165, Liappas v. Augoustis, 47 So.2d 582 (Fla. 1950). However, there is an exception when in certain circumstances of mere force of numbers acting in unison may comprise an actionable wrong. In essence, this Court stated that ordinarily there can be no independent tort for conspiracy.
However, if the plaintiff can show some peculiar power of coercion possessed by the conspirators by virtue of their combination, which power an individual would not possess, then conspiracy itself becomes an independent tort.
The essential elements of this tort are a malicious motive and coercion through numbers or economic influence. See Hunter Lyon, Inc. v. Walker, 152 Fla. 61, 11 So.2d 176 (1942); Regan v. Davis, 97 So.2d 324 (Fla.2d DCA 1957).
The District Court of Appeal, Second District, recently followed the reasoning of Snipes in Margolin v. Morton F. Plant Hospital Assn., Inc., supra. The plaintiff in Margolin, a surgeon and member in good standing of the Morton F. Plant Hospital medical staff, sued the executive director of the hospital, the president of the hospital’s staff, and the licensed physicians who practice anesthesiology as members of the hospital staff. The defendants as a whole allegedly exercised absolute control over the availability and rendering of general anesthesia services to all surgeons and patients at the hospital. Plaintiff alleged that the anesthesiologists had maliciously conspired as a group to refuse to perform services for his patients, thereby hoping to bring about his financial ruin by effectively precluding him from using the hospital. The court, speaking through Judge Grimes, held that the complaint stated a cause of action under the Snipes rationale. In summarizing Snipes, Judge Grimes stated:
In essence, even though a person has the privilege of selecting those with whom he wishes to conduct business, when several persons who occupy a coercive position with respect to another act in concert to decline to do business with him, their refusal may under certain circumstances constitute an independent tort. Id. at 1094.
See FRANCISCO CHURRUCA, RICARDO SOTIL, TXOMIN M. IBARLUCEA, JUAN J. CALZACORTA, JACINTO GUENAGA GARRAMIOLA, JAVIER ASTARLOA, JUAN M. CARMELO RECALDE IRUETA, ANTONIO MUGARTEGUI PLAZA, JOSE MARIA ORBEA OLASOLO, JUAN URDAMPILLETA ARTAZAMONA, FELIX ARRARTE GUISASOLA, and JOSE J. ECHABURU ARRIZABALAGA, Petitioners, v. MIAMI JAI-ALAI, INC., FLORIDA JAI-ALAI, INC., TAMPA JAI-ALAI, INC., DANIA JAI-ALAI PALACE, INC. (formerly MONRO OPERATING CO., INC.), THE FRONTON, INC., VOLUSIA JAI-ALAI, INC., and DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS REGULATION, DIVISION OF PARI-MUTUEL WAGERING OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA (formerly The Florida State Racing Commission), Respondents, Supreme Court of Florida, 353 So. 2d 547; 1977 Fla. LEXIS 4072