Hopefully in the process of settling a malicious prosecution case against a large Chicago area security company and a national consumer goods store. The defendants had my client arrested and prosecuted for various misdemeanor criminal charges after a minor incident in a store. My client was found Not Guilty on all charges. I filed a malicious prosecution case against the defendants after the criminal case was over. Early on the defendants tried to get the case dismissed, alleging that the complaint was defective as “special damages” had not been pled. The “special damages” rule is a recognition that Illinois Courts are reluctant to penalize parties for attempting to assert their rights in Court. In other words, assume a defendant had prevailed in a civil lawsuit. If he turns around and sues the entity that sued him for malicious prosecution, he can’t simply allege that he had to hire a lawyer and defend himself in the earlier case. If he does, his lawsuit is going to get tossed. The plaintiff in a malicious prosecution case based upon an underlying CIVIL case has to show an arrest, seizure of property or similar difficulties in order to go forward with his case. When the malicious prosecution case is based upon an underlying CRIMINAL case however, there is no “special damages” requirement. Although the cases speaking to the issue don’t explicitly say so, there seems to be an implict recognition that damages will be presumed where a person’s liberty is impaired, even briefly, by an arrest. Same goes where someone has to live with the threat of criminal prosecution, and/or incarceration hanging over their head. Thankfully the trial court was well versed in the law and the Motions were denied.

Categories: EVIDENCE