HELL NO. You cannot be sued just for downloading a torrent. It is completely legal to download torrents in any part of the world including the US. It’s just that we all have to keep away from the torrents that contain content that is protected by the copyright law, and we should not download something without its owners permission. If you get caught downloading something that is protected by copyright law or without the owner’s permission, then YES you can be sued and there is a good chance of you getting some jail time too. It’s even OK to download a torrent if you have paid for such a service and you have the receipt for it. Much of the content on the Internet is not protected by the Copyright Act as it is not cheap to get obtain copyright protection, so you are more then welcome to download something like that.
The US Copyright Act protects the legal ownership of specific content to its creator. The Copyright Act can penalize anyone caught in violation of its provisions. Anyone found guilty may have to pay for the other party’s attorneys fees, plus he/she can face potential criminal sanctions including fines between $600 and $40,000. In May, 2011 big movie release companies like “Recording Industry Association of America” RIAA filed law suites against more then 22,000 individuals in the US for downloading the movie “The Expendables” illegally via torrents.
There is ongoing lively discussions regarding these issues. The bottom line is simply — be careful what you download. Many content producers themselves provide content free of cost to the general public while they make money by the advertisement delivered through that content. If you simply abide by simple common sense you will have no problems and enjoy lots of free legal torrents.