Malicious prosecution refers to an unsuccessful lawsuit or criminal prosecution that was filed without probable cause and with malicious intent––typically to antagonize or harass the defendant. Individuals who successfully defended the claims against them may be able to file a lawsuit alleging malicious prosecution. A malicious prosecution claim seeks to protect the rights of those who have successfully defended against frivolous lawsuits or criminal charge. For malicious prosecution claims in San Diego and California to be considered valid, the plaintiff must prove that the prior action was:
- Filed by the other party or at the other party’s direction;
- Terminated in a manner demonstrating innocence;
- Filed without probable cause; and
- Initiated with malicious intent.
If these criteria are met, then a malicious prosecution lawsuit can be filed to recover the damages they endured while defending the prior ‘bad faith’ lawsuit. However, proving these elements can be challenging.
The second element listed above can be particularly challenging. Dismissal for procedural reasons––such as missing the statute of limitations––is insufficient; the dismissal must indicate factual innocence. Even a voluntary dismissal must be shown to serve as an acknowledgement of innocence. Malicious prosecution attorneys who are well-versed in California’s laws can help determine whether this criteria has been met, and if a malicious prosecution case has a chance of succeeding in court.
Malicious prosecution attorney Ryan T. Darby specializes in this niche area of law and files lawsuits against those who abuse the legal system. Contact The Law Office of Ryan T. Darby today for more information or to have your case evaluated.