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.
Not only would the adversary's interests interfere with the client's interests, the attorney's justifiable concern with being sued for negligence would detrimentally interfere with the attorney-client relationship.View Full Point of Law
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.