DHS Oregon breach of Safety Plan for Domestic Violence Victim 3 times

Asked over 1 year ago - Salem, OR

My spouse is a programmer analyst for dhs and has access to any file created. Upon asking for help from dhs, they promised they would keep info out of system. they neglected to do so. (2002) I stayed until 2010 and tried again. Yet again, with promises that this would not happen again, it did... not once more but two additional times. All is documented. they even sent information to his house even though they had my new address. The pain, mental abuse, and stress is beyond personal to put here, but can I sue them?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Jay Bodzin

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Short answer: No.

    Long answer: Lawsuits for 'emotional distress' or other psychological injuries alone are incredibly hard to win. In order to make such a case, you have to plead, and prove, "extreme and outrageous conduct" by the defendant (the person you're suing). You have to show that you suffered a permanent or crippling psychological condition, and that this condition was directly caused by that person's actions, which they knew or should have known would cause it. To do this, you have to have a therapist testify about your mental health condition and treatment. It waives any privilege you have with your therapist. The defendant would have the right to examine your psychological records, and to cross-examine the therapist, and you. They would have every right, and every motive, to impugn your honesty and your motives.

    If you have other, more easily quantified damages than purely emotional ones, then you could try to recover those. You would then run into the Oregon Tort Claims Act, which sets serious limits on the ability of private persons to sue state agencies. Among other things, you'd have to send a notice of claim to the agency very soon following the injury. If this all happened in 2010, you're probably already past the deadline.

    People have this idea that suing someone will be this glorious redemptive process in which all their old hurts will be vindicated. This idea is staggeringly wrong. Lawsuits are intensely stressful. And expensive, and uncertain. You'd be dragged over all those old injuries, again. And if you lose, you'd have to pay the attorney fees and costs accrued by the other side. Which would be the state of Oregon, in this case. They have enormous resources to defend any suit against them. This doesn't mean it's always impossible to make a claim against them - I know lawyers who do it all the time. But not this case, I think. I think in this case, you need to put these old injuries behind you, and move on.

    Please read the following notice:

    Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and... more
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