Malicious Prosecution Law and Legal Definition

Malicious Prosecution is defined as malicious prosecution for the recovery of damages to person, property, of reputation, shown to have approximately resulted from a previous civil or criminal proceeding, which was commenced or continued without probable cause, but with malice, and which has terminated unsuccessfully. Riegel v. Hygrade Seed Co., 47 F. Supp. 290, 293 (D.N.Y. 1942)

Malicious prosecution refers to filing a lawsuit for purposes of harassing the defendant when there is no genuine basis for the suit. If the defendant in the lawsuit wins and has evidence that the suit was filed out of harassing motives and without any legal or factual foundation, it may be the basis of a claim for damages against the person who filed the original action. If malicious prosecution is clearly proved against the party who brought the original suit, punitive damages may be awarded along with special and general damages.

In some cases, courts have held that an attorney who knowingly assists a client in filing a baseless lawsuit out of malice may also be liable for damages. Before bringing a suit for a malicious prosecution, the original lawsuit must be decided in favor of the victim.