Nolo's Plain-English Law Dictionary

Abuse Of Process

Using a legal process in a civil or a criminal case, such as filing a lawsuit or taking a deposition, in order to inconvenience another party or otherwise use the process improperly. Some courts define the term to mean using litigation to pursue objectives other than those named in the suit. For example, filing a lawsuit over a certain debt, when the real reason for the suit is to force payment on another debt, would be abuse of process. Because of its chilling effect on the right of access to the courts, claims of abuse of process are difficult to win.