Malicious Prosecution

A claim for malicious prosecution of a civil proceeding generally requires showing that a person maliciously and without probable cause initiated a civil proceeding against another person; that the proceeding terminated in the other person’s favor; and that the proceeding caused the other person to suffer special injury. A claim for malicious prosecution of a criminal proceeding generally has the same requirements except that special injury does not need to be shown.

A victim of malicious prosecution is entitled to compensatory damages, including for emotional distress and pecuniary losses such as lost wages and attorney fees incurred in defending against the improper proceeding. Punitive damages may also be available in especially egregious cases.

A claim for malicious prosecution generally must be brought within one year of the date on which the claim accrues.

For information about other civil claims recognized in the District of Columbia, click here. For information about how to use this guide, click here.

[Sources: Douglas C. Melcher, Tort Claims and Defenses in the District of Columbia § 28 (2014), and legal authorities cited therein.]