Malicious Prosecution/Bad Faith Lawsuits
Monterey Bad Faith Attorney
Malicious prosecution is a legal term for “bad faith” lawsuits. A “bad faith” lawsuit is one that is filed for improper purposes, such as to harass or antagonize, or with groundless claims that are not based upon probable cause. Individuals that are wrongfully sued can advance a malicious prosecution claim against the person that filed the “bad faith” lawsuit or that person’s attorney.
Simply being named as a defendant in a lawsuit creates a stressful situation. Likewise, being forced to defend a lawsuit based upon false and fabricated claims can be overwhelming. Lawsuits based upon false claims can injure reputations and business standing in the community. As such, victims of a “bad faith” lawsuit may recover their out of pocket expenses, such as attorney’s fees and costs in defending the bad faith lawsuit, as well as compensation for injury to reputation and mental or emotional distress.
Malicious prosecution claims protect the rights of individuals to be free from frivolous lawsuits brought by malicious parties and in bad faith. Under California law, to prevail on a malicious prosecution claim, a party must show they prevailed in a lawsuit against the other side and that the lawsuit that they won was filed without probable cause and initiated with an evil motive. Specifically, to win a malicious prosecution lawsuit, a person must show that the prior lawsuit: (1) was filed by or at the direction of the other side and that the other side “lost” the lawsuit; (2) the lawsuit was brought without probable cause; and (3) that the lawsuit was initiated with malice. If all three factors are present, then a person may file a separate malicious prosecution lawsuit for their damages stemming from successfully defending the “bad faith” lawsuit.
A person need not necessarily prevail at trial to have a malicious prosecution case. All that is needed is that a person shows that the outcome of the “bad faith” lawsuit was favorable to him or her. Even the filing of a “bad faith” lawsuit followed by the other side’s decision to dismiss or stop the lawsuit voluntarily can support a malicious prosecution claim.
In addition, malicious prosecution claims may arise in a situation where there was probable cause when the lawsuit was started, but later facts were learned undermining the probable cause. In other words, a person or his or her attorney may be liable for malicious prosecution if they started a lawsuit properly but refused to abandon the lawsuit after learning that the claims were false or not supported by probable cause.
If you were wrongfully sued and successfully defended that lawsuit, you may have a claim for malicious prosecution. You also have the legal right to seek a recovery of the money spent in defending that lawsuit as well as other damages. If you need skilled attorneys “to turn the table” against the other side, you will find them at the Piccuta Law Group, LLP. Contact one of our Monterey bad faith attorneys today for an evaluation of your malicious prosecution case.