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A malicious prosecution lawsuit is one that is brought by a defendant from a previous criminal or civil lawsuit for damages resulting from litigation or prosecution brought on without reasonable cause. The defendant of the previous lawsuit becomes the plaintiff in the malicious prosecution lawsuit that sues for damages suffered because of the misuse of the judicial system.
A malicious prosecution lawsuit is a tort action designed to protect people from suffering the personal, emotional, and financial repercussions of litigation that is pursued with malicious intent. A plaintiff can file a malicious prosecution lawsuit after they were prosecuted for crimes that the defendant knew were unsubstantiated. Malicious prosecution suits can also be filed against a person if the charges they were pursuing were unsubstantiated, but the litigation continued for spiteful reasons or personal vendetta.
Foremost, the lawsuit is to be based on a continuation of a civil or criminal action against the plaintiff. The prosecutor or plaintiff in the previous proceeding must have been the one to incite the legal process or have assisted in the proceedings. The outcome of the previous lawsuit must have ended in the plaintiff’s favor, and there must be proof that the plaintiff or prosecution of the previous lawsuit did not have probable cause at the time of the initiation or prosecution of the lawsuit.
The two elements of proof that will most likely be the hardest to prove are malice by the defendant and the extent of the damages suffered by the plaintiff. The claimant in the malicious prosecution lawsuit must prove that the defendant acted with malice as the primary purpose for initiating the criminal or civil litigation. Evidence to prove that the defendant in this lawsuit intentionally brought legal action against the plaintiff for purposes of personal gain is essential to a successful outcome. Since the intent of the malicious prosecution suit is to claim compensation for damages, the plaintiff must also prove that they suffered emotional, professional, or financial damages because of the case brought against them.
A plaintiff in a malicious prosecution lawsuit may be able to claim compensation for compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, defamation of character, damaged professional reputation, lost wages, and attorney fees. Punitive damages seek compensation that is intended to punish the defendant for their wrongful actions. This type of damage is based on the severity of the defendant’s intentional and vengeful actions. Punitive damages send a message to the defendant and to the public that this type of action is not tolerated.
If you believe that you or someone you know has been a victim of malicious prosecution, the experienced team of Philadelphia civil rights lawyers at Williams Cedar can help you claim the compensation you may be entitled to receive. Call us at 215-557-0099 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey offices serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and nationwide.