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How would one reasonably asses damages for defamation of character, harassment and emotional distress in small claims.

Chico, CA |

A person clearly defamed me in a public forum. I have the weblink, printed the screen and have a witness that can attest to the authenticity of the screen prints.Also of note is that this person has a history of convictions for battery as well as child and spousal abuse, is currently on revokable probation, order to complete a twelve week anger management course, refrain from alcohol and subject to random search and testing. Consequently this person's postings frequently contain extremely angry, abusive and foul language but so far not threatening language. My intent is to punish her through a civil action wherein I seek monetary damages that the court would find reasonable: a small amount for emotional distress and a larger amount in punitive as well as a restraining order. Advice?

Attorney Answers 2


You need to quantify your claim. First you need to prove a non privileged publication that is untruthful.

Small claims may be OK but is generally not the appropriate forum to claim punitive damages since the proceedings are brief, the technicalities involved in proving the net worth of defendant are burdensome in such forums.

If you file in a civil court you may get hit with an ANTI SLAPP motion. You really need to talk to a lawyer if this is worth while for you to do it.

Good Luck

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Defamation actions involving internet postings are difficult. This is not something that you would be likely to win in small claims court.
You need to consult an attorney that handles these types of claims.

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