Fighting Malicious Lawsuits
Being sued can be a stressful affair, especially if the lawsuit has no merit and is closer to harassment than truth. Beyond the emotional and psychological toll of a lawsuit that is aimed at harassing you’re your legal fees may also be a financial stress. Fortunately, depending on how the lawsuit ends, you may have a case against the person bringing the lawsuit. Whether the case that was brought against you was civil or criminal, you may sue them for malicious prosecution.
Under Florida law, you can sue for malicious prosecution if you can show that a criminal or civil case was brought against you and:
- The case was initiated by the person you are suing;
- The case was decided or ended in your favor;
- The action was initiated due to malice;
- The person you are suing lacked probable cause to initiate the action; and
- You suffered damages as a result of the case.
Winning a lawsuit does not necessarily mean that you may be able to sue for malicious prosecution. If there is a plausible reason why the lawsuit may have been brought, then you may have a harder time proving that the lawsuit was brought out of spite. Additionally, lawsuits that end in a settlement between the parties, or that are dismissed based on legal procedural or technical issues may not meet the requirement that the case be terminated in your favor.
Malicious prosecution differs from a claim for abuse of process, although the two are somewhat related in that they are both a use of the legal process to harass another person. In a claim for abuse of process, a person misuses the legal process with an ulterior motive to get something out of another person. For example a parent could allege various things or file numerous unnecessary motions during a divorce proceeding to ensure that the other parent does not get custody or visitation.
There are exceptions recognized in Florida malicious prosecution and abuse of process cases. In one case, a court found that a person could not sue for malicious prosecution because of Florida’s litigation privilege. The litigation privilege protects a person from civil liability for actions taken in the course of and related to a judicial proceeding. In the case, the plaintiff was sued by the defendant, but the case ended with the defendant withdrawing from the case and dismissing the charges after discovering that the case had no merit because the issues had previously been decided by another court. The plaintiff sued the defendant for malicious prosecution; however, his malicious prosecution case was dismissed because the court said that the defendants were protected under Florida’s litigation privilege.
Contact An Experienced Fort Lauderdale Personal Injury Attorney
If a case was filed against you maliciously, based on the actions or reports of another person, contact an experienced personal injury attorney for a consultation. You may be able to recover compensation for any damages you suffered as a result of the malicious prosecution. Contact the experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at Boone & Davis today.