LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney James E. Girards | Apr 23, 2010

Texas Abuse of Process Cause of Action

This is a little used cause of action in Texas that sometimes arises when someone, for example, gets law enforcement to indict another in order to coerce that person into doing something the person would not ordinarily do. A cause of action for Abuse of Process requires proof of the following essential elements:

  1. The plaintiff was served with valid, legal process;
  2. The defendants made an illegal, improper, or perverted and unauthorized use of the process after process was issued and had no proper purpose in using the process;
  3. The defendants had an ulterior motive or purpose in using the process and did not have any proper purpose in using the process;
  4. The plaintiff is not simply complaining about a frivolous or malicious lawsuit; and
  5. The plaintiff suffered an injury as a result of the improper use of process that is beyond what is ordinarily involved in the defense of a lawsuit.

These elements are set out in the following cases: Martinez v. English, 267 S.W.3d 521, 528-29 (Tex.App.—Austin 2008, pet. denied); RRR Farms, Ltd. v. American Horse Prot. Ass’n, 957 S.W.2d 121, 133-34 (Tex.App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1997 pet. denied); Detenbeck v. Koester, 886 S.W.2d 477 (Tex.App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1994, no writ); Snyder v. Byrne, 770 S.W.2d 65 (Tex.App.—Corpus Christi 1989, no writ).

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