Sometimes, a cause of action for abuse of process can be sustained even if there is no seizure of the person or property of plaintiff or if the coercion attempted by the improper use of process becomes unsuccessful[i].
In some other instances, it is required that a person who brings a claim for abuse of process will have to plead and prove that injury or damages resulted from the irregularity of the process[ii]. In such cases, mere vexation or harassment is not regarded as sufficient loss to give rise to the tort[iii].
In Ion Equipment Corp. v. Nelson [iv], respondent attempted to collect a judgment while an appeal of that judgment was still pending. Plaintiff sued for abuse of process and invasion of privacy. The court held that abuse of process was an intentional tort and its essential elements of abuse of process were not met in the instant case. The court added that the pleadings made by the plaintiff failed to establish an ulterior motive or a willful misuse of the process on respondent’s part. Hence, the court dismissed plaintiff’s claim.
[i] Nienstedt v. Wetzel, 133 Ariz. 348 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1982)
[ii] Campbell v. Lyon, 26 Fed. Appx. 183 (4th Cir. Md. 2001)
[iii] Ion Equipment Corp. v. Nelson, 110 Cal. App. 3d 868 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. 1980)