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As a pro se litigant can I email my ex's lawyer and tell him he is a dumb ass? Do I leave myself open to libel or defamation?

San Antonio, TX |

I have been dealing with my ex's attorney for 3 years. The answers I receive from the attorney are always late and really don't make a lot of sense. I'm at the end of my rope and really just want to email back and tell the attorney what I really think? Will I leave myself open to libel or defamation?

Attorney Answers 7

Posted

You are operating as your own attorney. You need to write every email as if it were going to be shown to the Judge. And if you call him a DA it probably will be. It is possible that you could be subject to sanctions (fines) by the Judge. And you could also lose the right to email the attorney which could be expensive for you to have to mail everything.
You can write the email--but just don't send it. OR try writing it in a way that does contain any insults or curse words but actually conveys information. People shut down and don't listen when you use those words anyway--which is strange since they are used for emphasis. If you feel that his late and incomplete responses to your questions, cost his client, delayed resolution, and harmed all concerned-say that. Note however, that a lot of things that you are blaming on him may be as a result of his client. That is more common than you might imagine.

Ms. Laster practices in Dallas, Denton, Collin and Tarrant Coun

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Dorothea Elaine Laster

Dorothea Elaine Laster

Posted

does NOT contain any.....What a place for a typo. LOL

Asker

Posted

Thanks. Very useful. I already apologized to the forum for posting that question. It won't happen again, only pertinent questions.

Dorothea Elaine Laster

Dorothea Elaine Laster

Posted

I didn't mind the question and it sounds like it helped you think it through--which is good. My son was my legal assistant for years. .I would write something when I was angry, but had the sense to show it to him first, and he would delete everything except the pertinent points. I got it out of my system. But it never left the office. There was a lawyer who was disciplined years ago for a letter he wrote. That was back when we used to put the computer file information of where the letter or document came from on the bottom of each document in small type. It made it easy to find the document in the computer later. He had titled the letter, "fuletter" or "f**k you letter". and sent it. He got in trouble with the Bar.

Posted

Don't do it. Pro se litigants are treated as attorneys under the law. If I did that, I'd be sanctioned by the Court and disciplined by the Bar. The fact that you are even considering it proves to show that you really need an attorney. Pro se litigants are oftentimes their own worst enemy. Would you perform surgery on yourself? Of course not. Litigating on your own behalf is no different, except that you're operating on your family relationship.

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Asker

Posted

Christopher, thanks for your advice. I agree with your analogy on doctors. Would you give that same advice to an individual looking to do their own income taxes. Would you tell them you should see a C.P.A. because they are trained on taxes. I don't think so unless of course that individual has a complicated tax return. I feel the same way about Family Law, for something complicated, custody, etc. YES an individual will best benefit from an attorney in his/her corner. For, something such as Contempt of Court in which the offense is defined in black and white (no grey area) in the decree, I believe a Pro Se litigant can file the motion for contempt and argue it in front of the judge. That's my personal belief just as I believe the Bexar County Family Court system is in need of serious reform!!

Posted

Doing so will tell him he's getting to you and may encourage him. Secondly, it's bad form. You may end up explaining your actions to the judge. Go hire a professional who won't get so personally involved in the litigation. You don't have the training and education to do this type work.

I am not intending this to be legal advice, because I don't know the particulars of your situation. Call me if you would like to discuss this or other isues.

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Posted

Seriously? That's your question. If you hired a lawyer to represent you, you would not have to deal with your ex's lawyer. I'm sure it would make his/her day to know that he/she has aggravated you this much. Why give him/her the satisfaction?

DISCLAIMER: This is not specific legal advice and does not establish an attorney/client relationship.

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Asker

Posted

"Mea Culpa", you're right not a good question and the last time I post something that does not belong on this site! Thanks for all the answers.

Posted

Sometimes I want to do that myself. I have even written the email. But then I ask myself, is this in MY (or in my case, MY CLIENT"S) best interest. Is it going to help me get what I want. Will the other side just laugh at me. Then I don't send it.

This is not legal advice. You should always discuss the specifics of your issue in person with an attorney. Be aware that there are time limits on all claims that depend on the kind of claim, so do not delay in seeking an attorney.

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Asker

Posted

Thanks for your honesty. I will not ever send that type of email as it serves no purpose.

Posted

I'm an attorney and have been often tempted to do the same. It isn't defamation to make an inflammatory statement directly to someone. It is however stupid to do it in the context of litigation. Even a dumb attorney can figure out that citing back to such an email will explain much if what he is seeking to prove you may have done during the marriage. Get a thicker skin or get your own lawyer.

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Posted

I do not see any exposure for libel or defamation in sending a communication to the lawyer (and only the lawyer). That exposure would come from posting comments about the lawyer in an online or public forum. But I still don't recommend it.

Remember that every communication passing between you and your ex-spouse's lawyer could be something reviewed by the judge or the jury. Conduct yourself accordingly. The small window of satisfaction gained by making your feelings known is surely outweighed by the potential negative effect on your case or credibility. This is, of course, a two-way street; if opposing counsel wants to start braying at you, don't discourage it and print a copy for the court or your exhibit list.

I know that divorce is hard and that the opposing lawyer always seems awful. But remember that you are an adult and keep your eyes on your ultimate goal. Which is to come out of the divorce with your dignity intact, your finances in relative order, and your relationships with the humans involved - spouse included - in as good of shape as possible. I wish you the very best in that endeavor.

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