#TheyLied Malicious Prosecution / Abuse of Process / Emotional Distress Claim Can Go Forward
From Skinner v. Hadlock, decided Thursday by Judge Michael Baylson (E.D. Pa.):
Skinner alleges that Hadlock falsely accused him of raping her in September 2018 while Hadlock was a graduate student in the University of Pennsylvania’s Masters of Social Work program.
Skinner, who was the program counselor at a housing-for-the-homeless social work program and Hadlock’s graduate assignment supervisor at the time, was arrested in January 2019 and incarcerated for nearly two years while awaiting trial. In December 2021, Skinner’s criminal trial commenced; at the end of Hadlock’s testimony and before the end of the prosecutor’s case, the prosecutor moved to withdraw the case with prejudice due to new evidence produced at trial. The trial judge granted the motion and Skinner’s criminal case was terminated. Skinner now brings the above claims against Hadlock. Hadlock also maintains a civil suit in state court against the housing program and the University of Pennsylvania, which she filed in December 2018….
[A.] Abuse of Process Claim
To state a claim for abuse of process under Pennsylvania law, the plaintiff must show (1) that the defendant used a legal process against the plaintiff, (2) primarily to accomplish a purpose for which the process was not designed, and (3) harm has been caused to the plaintiff.
Pennsylvania state claims for abuse of process and malicious prosecution are “separate and distinct.” The former is “a perversion of a process after it is issued” and the latter is “the wrongful initiation of such process.” When looking at abuse of process, it “is not … the wrongful initiation of criminal or civil proceedings; it is the misuse of process, no matter how properly obtained, for any purpose other than that which it was designed to accomplish.” Importantly, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has characterized that “[t]he improper purpose usually takes the form of coercion to obtain a collateral advantage, not properly involved in the proceeding itself…. There is, in other words, a form of
Article from Reason.com