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AMI416Issues—Claim for Damages Based Upon Abuse of Process—Burden of Proof

Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil

Ark. Model Jury Instr., Civil AMI 416
Arkansas Model Jury Instructions-Civil
November 2020 Update
Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil
Chapter 4. Intentional Torts and Defamation
AMI 416 Issues—Claim for Damages Based Upon Abuse of Process—Burden of Proof
(Plaintiff) claims damages from (defendant) for abuse of process and has the burden of proving each of the following five essential propositions:
First, that [he][she] has sustained damages;
Second, that (defendant) set in motion a legal proceeding directed at (plaintiff);
Third, that the proceeding was used to accomplish an ulterior purpose for which it was not designed;
Fourth, that (defendant) willfully used process in a manner not proper in the regular conduct of the proceeding; and
Fifth, that (defendant)'s acts were a proximate cause of (plaintiff)'s damages.
[If you find from the evidence in this case that each of these propositions has been proved, then your verdict should be for (plaintiff); but if, on the other hand, you find from the evidence that any of these propositions has not been proved, then your verdict should be for (defendant).]
NOTE ON USE
Do not use the bracketed sentence when the case is submitted on interrogatories.
COMMENT
In National Bank of Arkansas v. River Crossing Partners, LLC, 2011 Ark 475, at 11, the Arkansas Supreme Court reiterated the elements necessary to prove the tort of abuse of process, which had previously been set forth in South Arkansas Petroleum Co. v. Schiesser, 343 Ark. 492, 36 S.W.3d 317 (2001).
The mere filing of a vexatious lawsuit is insufficient because abuse of process is a narrow tort. Union Nat'l Bank of Little Rock v. Kutait, 312 Ark. 14, 17–18, 846 S.W.2d 652, 654 (1993). “It is the purpose for which the process is used, once issued, that is … importan[t]” in reaching a conclusion regarding whether the proceeding is “perverted to accomplish an ulterior purpose for which [the process] was not designed.” Harmon v. Carco Carriage Corp., 320 Ark. 322, 327, 895 S.W.2d 938, 940 (1995).
End of Document