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Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 37067
Experience:  16 yrs practice, Civil, Criminal, Domestic, Realtor, Landlord 26 yrs
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RE: Civil Lawsuit brought against the wrong Company My small

Customer Question

RE: Civil Lawsuit brought against the wrong Company
My small business (Corporation) has received a summons as co-defendant in a personal injury lawsuit.
On page 2 of the complaint, it states the name of a nation-wide corporation (of a similar name to mine), who I believe is the company they should be suing.
Even though I have no idea who the plantiffs are or any of the circumstances behind this lawsuit, I know I have to respond and have contacted an attorney as MY Corporate name is ***** ***** summons.
On page 1 of the complaint, it is stated that "Plantiffs are ignorant of the true names and capacities of defendants sued...and therefore sues by such fictitious names. Plantiffs will amend this Complaint to allege their true names and capacities when ascertained".
This appears that the Plantiffs attorneys are "casting a wide net" and see who gets caught.
Obviously, if I don't pay for legal council to absolve my company from this lawsuit, I could suffer a default judgement.
What is my legal recourse to re-coup my upcoming legal expenses?
Also, do I have any way to send a message (in the form of a monetary penalty) in order to encourage the Plantiffs attorneys to work harder to identify the true defendants in the future, before bringing a lawsuit? Other than the similarities in business names, we have almost no similarities in business engagements with the public.
I would donate any monetary award (after legal fees) to charity. I just want to protect others from this happening to them.
Thank you-
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question..In a situation like this, the plaintiff is negligent in "casting the net" and not making sure that they have the right party here. So if you aren't the correct party, and the plaintiff costs you money on an attorney to file an Answer, then your recourse is to sue them for "malicious prosecution" for any damages that you have incurred due to their negligence in not determining who the proper party is supposed to be..You could ask for punitive damages in your suit to set an example and deter future similar behavior and I would opine that a judge may agree with you since they tend to not like it when plaintiff's abuse the court system like this and might ding them for a pretty good penalty...But if you wanted to avoid litigation, you can have an attorney send a letter to the plaintiff's attorney basically threatening to sue if they don't dismiss you from the suit and reimburse you for your costs.. A prudent attorney would then research this to make sure he didn't look like a fool in court suing the wrong person and advise his client to just apologize and reimburse you after dismissing you as a defendant...thanksBarrister
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response. I now know what options I have and will consider how to proceed. I absolutely need my legal fees reimbursed, as we are just a small family owned company. It would be a "plus" to send a message to the Plantiff's attorneys, as they clearly did NOT do their homework and caused my family a lot of anxiety. Thank you so much.
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome. And this is a complete abuse of the legal system and any attorney should be sanctioned for this sloppy and negligent behavior. Judges don't like this type of shoddy legal work where the attorney just uses the "shotgun approach" and sees if anyone responds..I think if you got an attorney involved and counter sued them, a judge might set an example of them with a nice punitive award in addition to your actual damages...thanks muchBarrister