and execution. Mayer v. Walter, 64 Pa. 283 (1870).
Some cases distinguish malicious use of process from malicious prosecution when the legal process employed is civil.
However, the question of whether the proceedings utilized were civil or criminal is not the determining issue in such actions.
In an action for abuse of process, it is only the subsequent acts which give rise to the tort; e.g., where a mortgagee of a ship begins an assumpsit action for a debt but later causes the arrest of the defendant by issuing civil process to compel him to give up the register of the ship thereby preventing him from going to sea.
An Abuse of Process is defined in 3 Restatement of Torts, 682, p. 464:
'One who uses a legal process, whether criminal or civil, against another to accomplish a purpose for which it is not designed is liable to the other for the pecuniary loss caused thereby. 'Comment:
'a. The gravamen of the misconduct for which the liability stated in this Section is imposed is not the wrongful procurement of legal process or the wrongful initiation of criminal or civil proceedings; it is the misuse of process, no matter how properly obtained, for any purpose other than that which it was designed to accomplish. Therefore, it is immaterial that the process was properly issued, that it was obtained in the course of proceedings which were brought with probable cause and for a proper purpose or even that the proceedings terminated in favor of the person instituting or initiating them. The subsequent misuse of the process, though properly obtained, constitutes the misconduct for which the liability is imposed under the rule stated in this Section.'
Stated seriatim the essential elements of abuse of process are the following:
1. An ulterior motive either at the initiation of process or thereafter;
2. A wilful or improper act in the use of process contrary to what is regular in the conduct of such a proceeding; and
3. A seizure of the person or property of the plaintiff.
The ulterior motive usually takes the form of coercion, or extortion to obtain a collateral advantage not involved in the proceeding itself, such as payment of a debt or blackmail.
The improper use of the process cannot be inferred from the motive but must be proved separately.
An arrest of the person of a plaintiff could constitute the element of seizure necessary in the action.
Plaintiff's complaint in this action avers generally that there has been an abuse of process committed by the defendants.
While it does not specifically spell out all the elements of the tort it does give sufficient notice of the cause of action. In Federal pleadings, the philosophy leans to a liberal construction rather than adherence to ritualistic formalism.
A pleading is only required to give a short plain statement of the action in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and its basis.
Under this notice theory of pleading it is immaterial whether a pleading states conclusions or facts.
 The plaintiff was arrested and he avers that this arrest and subsequent detention were intended to coerce payment from him of certain civil obligations. We cannot say on the face of this complaint that he could not prove a perversion of this criminal process at a trial of the cause. Therefore, the defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings will be denied as to the count alleging abuse of process.