Abuse Of Process and Malicious Prosecution in Colorado
Abuse of process is a civil cause of action which arises from intentional misapplication of the legal process. Whether you are being sued for abuse of process - or looking to bring an abuse of process claim against another - the need for swift and efficient resolution is of utmost importance.
At Volpe Law, our abuse of process lawyers prioritize our client's interests and work diligently to resolve any and all situations where abuse of process is at issue. Contact us today at 720-441-3328 or complete a Consultation Request to request a Free Consultation.
What are the elements of Abuse of Process claims in Colorado?
In essence, the tort of abuse of process involves the use of a legal proceeding primarily to accomplish a purpose that the lawsuit was not designed to achieve. The elements of abuse of process were defined in Aztec Sound Corp. v. Western States Leasing Co., a 1973 Colorado appellate case:
- The defendant had an ulterior purpose in his/her use of a legal proceeding;
- The defendant acted willfully in a manner not proper in the regular conduct of such proceeding; and
- The plaintiff suffered resulting damages.
As a point of public policy, abuse of process exists as a civil cause of action in order to combat against the levying of “sham” defenses in court, and, therefore, does not require an overt wrongful act as an essential element. Rather, a plaintiff need only demonstrate that:
- Claims or defenses were devoid of factual support or, if supportable in fact, had no basis in law;
- The primary purpose of these activities was to harass the claimant or to effectuate some other improper objective; and
- The sham activities adversely affected the legal interest of the abuse of process claimant.
What are the Damages for Abuse of Process in Colorado?
Proof of actual damages (whether economic or noneconomic) are required to recover in an abuse of process lawsuit. Recoverable damages might include:
- Attorney fees and court costs;
- Injury to reputation;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish;
- Humiliation; and
How do I defend against an Abuse of Process Claim?
Other than disputing the existence of circumstances needed to meet the elements of an abuse of process claim on its face, an abuse of process defendant may also levy the defense that the action was brought in good-faith as an effort to establish a new theory of law or to extend, modify, or reverse existing law.
What is Malicious Prosecution?
Malicious Prosecution is another claim that sometimes shows up alongside an abuse of process claim. To prove Malicious Prosecution in Colorado, one has to prove the following:
- A criminal case was brought against the plaintiff;
- The criminal case was brought as a result of (an) oral or written statement(s) made by the defendant;
- The criminal case ended in favor of the plaintiff;
- The defendant's statement(s) against the plaintiff (was) (were) made without probable cause;
- The defendant's statement(s) against the plaintiff (was) (were) motivated by malice towards the plaintiff; and
- As a result of the criminal case, the plaintiff had damages.
Defenses and Damages to Malicious Prosecution Claims.
The available damages and defenses in malicious prosecution are similar to abuse of process. However, one unique defense in a malicious prosecution case may by that the malicious prosecutor acted on advice of counsel in good faith.
Contact an Attorney for Help.
If you are facing an abuse of process or malicious prosecution claim in Colorado and don't know where to turn, the attorneys at Volpe Law are here to help. Contact us today at 720-441-3328 or complete a Consultation Request to request a Free Consultation.