Can I Sue Someone for Suing Me? Yes you can!

Posted almost 2 years ago. Applies to Pennsylvania, 1 helpful vote

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The Dragonetti Act

In 1980, the PA legislature enacted what is commonly known as the Dragonetti Act. The most well known area is entitled "Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings", and codified at 42 Pa.C.S.A. 8351. (a) A person who takes part in the procurement, initiation or continuation of civil proceedings against another is subject to liability to the other for wrongful use of civil proceedings [if]: (1) He acts in a grossly negligent manner or without probable cause and primarily for a purpose other than that of securing the proper discovery, joinder of parties or adjudication of the claim in which the proceedings are based; and (2) The proceedings have terminated in favor of the person against whom they are brought. So what does this mean for you? If the facts favor that you are sued by someone, and knowing they sued you and acted grossly incompetent in doing so, you may recover costs, including counsel fees, and pain and suffering. However, you cannot bring the claim until the case has ended.

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Abuse of Power

In order to establish a claim for abuse of process, the plaintiff in the second action must prove that the original plaintiff (1) used a legal process against the current plaintiff; (2) primarily to accomplish a purpose for which the process was not designed; and (3) harm has been caused to the plaintiff. Werner v. Plater-Zyberk, 799 A.2d 776 (Pa.Super. 2002). Realize however that the prior proceeding does not need to be terminated in order to bring a claim for abuse of power. While the standard is not as clear as with Wrongful Use of Civil Proceeding, the facts will show whether there was an abuse. Most commonly are cases for retaliation, either for raising fees or specific action. Whatever the reason may be, these cases usually stick out as unreasonable, and the court will likely agree. If you think you have a claim, ask yourself, would a reasonable person think in my circumstances that the other side acted reasonable? If the answer is more no, you may have a claim.

Additional Resources

It is always important that you speak to an attorney to see whether you have a cause of action under the Dragonetti Act. However, please don't read this as to say whenever you get sued and win you should bring this suit. The act was created to protect citizens from harmful lawsuits filed against them, and to teach others a lesson not to bring such suits again. Just because you may be upset you are being sued (whether it was your fault or not) doesn't mean you automatically have a right to sue under the Act. If you think you have a claim, contact a local attorney and speak to them about your facts to obtain their opinion if you may have a right under the act to sue.

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