The personal injury claim of abuse of process applies in situations when someone misuses the justice system to achieve an end for which it was not intended. For example, a New Mexico slaughterhouse with potential Missouri ties is alleging that New Mexico Governor King filed a frivolous lawsuit “to block a lawful business…to further (King’s) gubernatorial bid” for reelection.
The slaughterhouse (which slaughters horse meat) attorney elaborates the abuse of process accusation by saying, “They don’t agree with the lawful business so instead of changing the law they decided they will try to destroy Valley. (Two animal rights groups) have stated their goal is to drive (the slaughterhouse) out of business,” with the thought that the governor is working (or conspiring) with the animal rights groups to accomplish this surreptitious goal.
The article also points out that a separate horse-meat slaughterhouse, Rains Natural Meats, was set to open in Missouri but similar political issues have delayed its business.
In Missouri, an abuse of process action would qualify as a tort with economic and reputation damages, similar to those of slander and libel. If the slaughterhouse hopes to prevail, it must prove the following elements:
- The legal process was used against the opposing party in a manner that it is not legally intended to be used;
- The party filing wrongful suit did so with an ulterior purpose, but one that is not obvious from the legal claim as to be rejected outright;
- Plaintiff sustained damages resulting from the misuse of the legal process.
The legal system should not be used as a tool to achieve personal vendettas. If you have been sued and believe the legal process was misused to achieve a hidden or ulterior motive, contact a St. Louis personal injury attorney to discuss your options.
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