Brief Fact Summary. After Dozorc (Defendant) sued Dr. Friedman (Plaintiff) for medical malpractice and lost, Plaintiff counter-sued for misuse of legal process.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Just because a defendant prevails in a personal injury action, it does not necessarily lend to a claim against plaintiff’s council for misuse of process.
Issue. Whether an attorney owes a duty to a potential defendant, to properly research a claim before bringing suit, a breach of which duty would lead to a cause for misuse of process?
Held. The judgment of the trial court was reinstated.
* In reaching its conclusion, the Supreme Court of Michigan held that an attorney is not an insurer to his client’s adversary that his client will win litigation. An attorney has a duty to represent his client zealously; and he may, without being guilty of malicious prosecution, pursue litigation, the outcome of which he unsure.
Discussion. While malicious prosecution may be a proper claim to bring for frivolous law suits, the Plaintiff must still show actual malice. If an attorney brings a suit, on behalf of his client, that he does not know the outcome of, without malice, he cannot be guilty of malicious prosecution.