Here, defendant voluntarily dismissed its cross-complaint against plaintiff in the underlying action. A voluntary dismissal, even one without prejudice, reflects on the merits. Although not res judicata, it is generally a favorable termination for purposes of a later malicious prosecution action. As defendant introduced no evidence to show otherwise, the dismissal was sufficient evidence of favorable termination. Plaintiff also made a prima facie showing of lack of probable cause by introducing four letters from its attorneys to defendant’s attorneys, one before and three after the cross-complaint was filed, each pointing out that plaintiff had nothing to do with the transaction on which the cross-complaint was based. Malice was adequately demonstrated by lack of research by defendant’s attorney and a misleading press release.
California Court of Appeal, First District, Division Two (Richman, J.); October 17, 2017; 2017 WL 5261555.