Persons using a legal process with malice in order to attain a personal purpose similar to what it actually is intended to are liable for intentional tort of abuse of process. Any person who procures unnecessary and improper initiation of a process by a third party will also be liable for damages for abuse of process. If a non-litigant who actively participate in a civil proceeding that results in an improper initiation of proceeding, s/he will be liable for damages for abuse of process.
The use of criminal process in the court system in an effort to collect a civil debt will support an action for abuse of process.[i] In Woodring v. Jennings State Bank, 603 F. Supp. 1060 (D. Neb. 1985), plaintiff landowner initiated an action against defendant bank alleging that the bank had converted her interest in property owned jointly with her husband, and violated her due process rights by depriving her of her property without notice or a hearing. The Court granted summary judgment favoring the defendant and contended that the wife’s constitutional rights were violated by depriving her of property rights without due process of the law. It held that although there was a constitutional violation, the bank was entitled to good faith immunity from liability for damages and the bank was entitled to summary judgment on the due process claim.
[i] McCornell v. City of Jackson, 489 F. Supp. 2d 605, 610 (S.D. Miss. 2006)