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After several months of trying to negotiate with a former employer,

I was forced to file...
After several months of trying to negotiate with a former employer, I was forced to file a breach of contract claim in Illinois. I worked for the firm for over 15 years and have never had any disciplinary actions taken against me; however, in an attempt to intimidate me and my attorney they have threatened to file what I consider to be frivilous counterclaims against me. Assuming that they are frivilous, do I have any further actions that I can take against them for damages as a result of their attempts to intimidate us into dropping the original claim?
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
4/19/2013
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19,342
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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Thank you for your question today, I look forward to assisting you. I bring nearly 20 years of legal experience in various disciplines.

You can, after defending the claims, make a motion for frivolous lawsuit sanctions against the defendant company and the attorney, so that your fees for defending the claims are paid.

You generally have to do more than just win against them, but show that the claims had so little merit as to demonstrate bad faith on the part of the party. It's not common, but Illinois passed their own state version of this concept, so their courts look on such sanctions more favorably than many others.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Can you give me an example or a case to refer to. It seems like there has to be something to prevent an employer from engaging in a strategy to prevent legitimite lawsuits by threatening to file counters that will be so prohibitively expensive to defend that the employee drops the original case.


 

There actually is something that is meant to prevent this, but it isn't anything different than I've already stated.

It's called Federal Rule 11, which has been codified into a statute in your state in Illinois Supreme Court Rule 317.

The problem is that the court can't simply dismiss a counterclaim just because you say it is frivolous. That would be the same as if the employer here said your claim had no legitimacy and so the court dismissed your claim without ever hearing evidence.

The other side gets to try and put on evidence and establish their claim. Your only recourse is that rule that I've mentioned. I'm sorry, but that's how the system works.

You can read about it here: http://www.novackmacey.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Recovering-Attorney-Fees-for-Defending-Frivolous-Claims-Article-Aug.-2012.pdf

There are references to dozens of cases there.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

No need for apologies, I was only looking for supporting documentation.

Ok. That's fine. Understanding tone is difficult in an on line forum.

Take care and good luck going forward.
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19,342
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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