Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ct. of Appeals issues opinion on malice in a malicious prosecution case

In Guider v. Churpeyes, Inc., Guider was an employee of Church's Chicken and stole $800 from the Company before she quit. She came clean, and eventually returned the money to Church's by depositing the funds in the company's bank account on June 13, 2003. She had retained possession of the funds for eight days, during which time Church's did not have access to the funds. A municipal court judge signed the arrest warrant on June 19, 2003. Police served Guider with the warrant on June 29, and arrested her on the charges. The charges were dismissed the following day when Church's failed to appear at Guider's hearing. Guider sued for abuse of process and malicious prosecution. The trial court denied Church's motions for directed verdict, and Church's appealed.

The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that there was no malice in the prosecution of Guider. According to the Court: "A reasonable party could only conclude Church's had probable cause to believe Guider guilty of breach of trust. We find Guider failed to meet her burden of proving Church's lacked probable cause to bring breach of trust charges against her. "

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