What are my rights to counter-suit for a case?

I have an ex-girlfriend who sued me for giving her HSV-2. However, I don’t have HSV-2 and the case was dismissed by the judge. Can I counter sue her for lost wages and mental distress? I’m glad that my case was dismissed but don’t feel that I should be responsible to pay a eighteen hundred dollar attorney fee for something I didn’t do. She didn’t even have HSV-2 and tired to sue me. How can the judicial system punish an innocent person defending themselves on a base-less claim?

Asked on July 16, 2012 under Personal Injury, Washington


Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If a “frivolous” lawsuit is filed, Washington state law allows judges to award attorneys fees and costs against the party that filed the frivolous lawsuit.  RCW 4.84.185.  A judge can also award monetary sanctions under Civil Rule 11 or even dismiss the lawsuit under Civil Rule 56. 

However if the case has already been dismissed and you failed to file a counter-claim (cross-complaint), then you may have lost your right to those attorney fees and costs.

If you have lost the rights to those attorney fees and costs, you could still sue her for defamation--but that would cost more attorney fees to handle.

You should consult a local attorney about whether or not you lost the right to fees under 4.84.185,Rule 11 and Rule 56 by failing to file a cross complaint.

Best of luck.

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