Establishing a Malicious Prosecution Claim

Sometimes plaintiffs sue for all the wrong reasons.  If a party sues an individual without a proper basis to bring suit, the party being sued may have a claim for malicious prosecution against the party who wrongfully filed suit.  Florida has long recognized malicious prosecution claims. Long ago (1932) the Florida Supreme court in Duval Jewelry Company v. Smith, spelled out the requirements for bringing such a claim:  (1) the commencement or continuation of an original civil or criminal judicial proceeding; (2) its legal causation by the present defendant against a plaintiff who was the defendant in the original proceeding; (3) its bona fide termination in favor of the present plaintiff; (4) the absence of probable cause for such proceeding; (5) the presence of malice; and, (6) damages to the plaintiff.  Duval Jewelry Company v. Smith, 136 So. 878 (Fla. 1931);  see also, Adams v. Whitfield, 290 So.2d 49 (Fla. 1974). Starting with the first element, it…

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