Means in themselves lawful must not be so oppressively used as to amount to an abuse of legal remedies. Though attachment is in itself lawful, if an attachment is excessive, or of perishable property,*0 or is made under circumstances which make it difficult for the defendant to avoid yielding to any demands31 the use of the attachment for the purpose of enforcing extortionate or collateral demands is abusive, and transactions coerced by such means are voidable. Under similar circumstances a threat to apply for a receiver of a corporation has been held duress of one who was interested financially therein and whose reputation would be injuriously affected by the application.82 Even a threat of ordinary litigation may be made under such circumstances as to render the threat wrongful as a means of coercion, and the transaction induced thereby voidable. Thus, where one of the parties is in such a position as to be easily dominated by the other,33 or is old and weak-minded,34 a transaction induced by such a threat may be avoided. Where, however, ordinary legal procedure is used or threatened by one who believes he has a claim of the kind for which such procedure was provided, there must doubtless be some actual or threatened abuse of process. What amounts to such an abuse is not susceptible of exact definition.
27 Koewing v. Wert Orange, 89 N. J. L. 639, 99 AtL 203.
28 Sackman v. Campbell, 15 Wash. 57, 45 Pae. 895.
29 Jewelers' League v DeForest, 80 Hun, 376, 90 N. Y. S. 88, affd. 151 N. Y. 654, 40 N. £. 1148.
30 Spaids v. Barrett, 57 11l. 289, 11 Am. Rep. 10; Chandler v. Sanger, 114 Mass. 864,19 Am. Rep. 867.
31 Collins v. Weetbury, 2 Bay (S. Gar.), 211,1 Am. Dee. 643.
32 Rose v. Owen, 42 Ind. App. 137, 85 N. E. 129. Cf. Minneapolis Land Co. v. McMillan, 79 Minn. 287, 82 N. W. 501; McCammon v. Shants, 26 N. Y. Misc. 476, 57 N. Y. S. 516.
33 See Heinlein v. Imperial, etc., Ins.
Co., 101 Mich. 250, 59 N. W. 615, 25 L. R. A. 627, 45 Am. St. Rep. 409 (unfounded claim that a policy was void with threats to bring suit to cancel it). See also Foote v. DePoy, 126 la. 366, 102 N. W. 112,68 L. R. A. 302,106 Am. St. Rep. 365.
34 See Galusha v. Sherman, 105 Wis. 263, 81 N. W. 495, 47 L. R. A. 417 (threats of criminal prosecution were also made,) In Hogan v. Leeper, 37 OkL 655, 133 Pac. 190, 47 L. R. A. (N. S.)475, the threat of guardianship proceedings by which the will of an old man was coerced, whereby he was induced to sign a deed of trust, was held to render the deed voidable.