A company I work for is being sued by a previous employee. His lawyer named me as a co defendant by mistake. Now, I made sure my company is aware of this. But I was requested to sign a document stating that I understand the company's attorneys will pay for all fees etc. I should not even be listed. Why can't they change or request the palntiff's attorney to resubmit the lawsuit due to this error? Do I need to go through with this? Can I counter sue for harassment and defamation of character since now I am being unwillingly drug through the mud? My name will be associated with this case. In do not want this. Thank you. Robert
Step one for you is to make sure that some type of a response is filed by the 20-day deadline so you are not in default. Step two is to contact Plaintiff's attorney--if the lawyer agrees with you that you were named as a party Defendant in error, he/she can just drop you from the case. Plaintiff's attorney does not want to amend right off the bat, due to some procedural issues, not to mention giving your employer more time to determine its course of action.
There are steps you can take if you wish to take action against the Plaintiff. Depending on circumstances and facts, it might be a motion for sanctions, it might be an offer of settlement where you offer to pay some minimal amount of money, it might even be a law suit for malicious prosecution. Regardless, you will need to have an attorney to represent you, as these are highly technical processes, and moreso, what would your measure of damages be if you are representing yourself.
As for defamation of character, the allegations contained in a pleading do not give rise a claim for damages, as they are protected by "litigation privilege". You could be called some of the worst names on the planet and that, in and of itself, would not give rise to a defamation or libel action. However, the failure of a party to prove up its claims against you, or to unreasonably reject your settlement offer, or litigate with basis, can be a basis for sanctions and attorneys fees.
Which brings us back to step one, which is to see if the attorney will agree that suing you was a mistake, in which even he/she would not want to keep you due to the exposure the attorney and the client might have from your defensive efforts.
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I agree with attorney Lambert. However in this country anyone can sue anyone. You should be dropped, but your name will still appear in the style of the suit.
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