Where plaintiff filed an action for malicious prosecution and abuse of process based on a criminal theft case, summary judgment for defendant was affirmed. A grand jury indicted plaintiff of the theft charges, which created a rebuttable presumption of probable cause for purposes of the malicious prosecution claim, and plaintiff was unable to prove the elements of her abuse of process claim.
In Christmas v. Kington, No. E2022-00699-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Aug. 25, 2023), plaintiff and defendant had previously been in a romantic relationship. At two different times, defendant filed civil suits against plaintiff based on the theft of jewelry from defendant’s home, but those suits were both voluntarily dismissed. Defendant also called the local sheriff’s office to report the theft of several pieces of jewelry. Defendant informed the detective that plaintiff’s son had called and informed him that plaintiff had stolen and sold several pieces of jewelry, including a men’s Rolex watch. When defendant went to the store where plaintiff allegedly sold the jewelry, he saw the watch and a few other pieces he recognized.
The sheriff’s office investigated the matter and brought charges, and plaintiff was indicted by a grand jury for theft. Defendant did not testify before any court or grand jury and did not provide documents or records to the grand jury. The criminal charges were eventually dismissed by the State, but nothing in the record indicated that the dismissal was on the merits or based on a lack of evidence.