Malicious Prosecution Claims Now Made Easier—Will There Be An Impact on Shareholder Disputes, Legal Malpractice Actions, or Other Business Lawsuits?

As the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and the Associated Press point out, a recent United States Supreme Court decision makes malicious prosecution claims easier.  In a case in which a plaintiff urged that he had been erroneously arrested and then prosecuted, he filed a claim for malicious prosecution. The charges against him had been dropped, but without any indication that he was innocent or any evidence introduced showing that he was innocent. Prior court decisions had said that the absence of evidence of innocence was fatal to a malicious prosecution claim.  The United States Supreme Court disagreed.

While the case considered a government prosecution, it may have a wider impact on malicious prosecution claims generally.  Often courts are reluctant to permit a malicious prosecution claim simply because someone lost a lawsuit or dropped it.  An unjustly sued defendant may want to recover costs and fees, but sanctions awards are rare, given that the courts do not want to penalize someone for bringing a claim just because they lost. It will be interesting to see whether such claims increase after shareholder disputes, legal malpractice claims, breach of contract claims, and the like are lost, as vindicated litigants seek to recover the damages sustained as a result of being erroneously sued. To read the articles, click here. For more information or to consult about questions of Shareholder Disputes, Legal Malpractice Actions, or Other Business Lawsuits, contact Thomas Patterson at

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