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Legal Memorandum: Vexatious Litigation Lawsuit in CT

Issue: Whether an award of nominal damages forecloses a subsequent vexatious litigation lawsuit?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Nominal damages award; Litigation terminated; Vexatious litigation
Jurisdiction: Connecticut, Federal
Cited Cases: 407 A.2d 982; 104 Cal. Rptr. 2d 683; 275 Conn. 908; 882 A.2d 670; 464 A.2d 52; 89 Conn. App. 459; 597 A.2d 807
Cited Statutes: Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-568
Date: 11/01/2005

  A lawsuit alleging vexatious litigation is similar to an action for malicious prosecution, abuse of process, or wrongful use of courts.  A vexatious litigation lawsuit differs from a malicious prosecution action in that it is based on an underlying civil suit, whereas a malicious prosecution lawsuit is based on a prior criminal action.  Falls Church Group, Ltd. v. Tyler, Cooper & Alcorn, LLP, 89 Conn. App. 459, 467, 874 A.2d 266, 271, cert. granted in part, 275 Conn. 908, 882 A.2d 670 (Sept. 12, 2005).*FN1 In Connecticut, the vexatious litigation suit at common law is codified in Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-568.  The statute provides:

Any person who commences and prosecutes any civil action or complaint against another, in his own name or the name of others, or asserts a defense to any civil action or complaint commenced and prosecuted by another (1) without probable cause, shall pay such other person double damages, or (2) without probable case, and with a malicious intent unjustly to vex and trouble such other person, shall pay him treble damages.

Conn. Gen. Stat. 52-568.

In a claim for vexatious litigation, the Supreme Court of Connecticut has “held that a claim for vexatious litigation requires a plaintiff to allege that the previous lawsuit was initiated maliciously, without probable cause, and terminated in the plaintiff’s favor.”  Blake v. Levy, 191 Conn. 257, 263, 464 A.2d 52, 56 (1983) (citing Vandersluis […]

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