The practical answer is that it probably wouldn't be worthwhile even if you could.
Number 1 : I don't know the jurisdiction. I'll infer from your reference to the U.S. that you're somewhere in the U.S. or at least inquiring about U.S. law. This is state law, which varies wildly from state to state. Without knowing at least the state you're in, there's no way to say anything about what suit you could file.
Number 2 : "In some of these cases, it is clear that the plaintiff must have known that the evidence existed and was just hoping it would not be found,"
This is key. It may be clear, but that doesn't mean it can meet the required burden of proof to win a lawsuit.
Number 3 : "but wanted to harass the defendant legally anyway to force them to incur legal costs as a punishment for criticizing the plaintiff."
This would just be stupid. This is tort case. The loser pays the costs for both sides.
Number 4 : "plaintiff knew that the defendants claims were based on the truth and was thus suing 'maliciously'"
In a land where most people believe in a big daddy in the sky, it's less than nothing to believe that the plaintiff may have honestly believed in his innocence. Unless he confesses, there's no way to know. And it's incredibly difficult to convince a jury to hold someone liable.
Number 5 : And then there's the issue of what damages (money) you could win. Keep in mind, that the countersuit is in tort, so the loser pays all costs. That's a big risk. What's the potential reward? The plaintiff already paid the legal fees. So you don't need to recover that. What uncompensated costs did the defendant incur? Assuming you could get punitive damages, how much could they be?