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Intentional Infliction Emotional Distress, this is complex litigation - how would you advice Pro Se litigant?

Seattle, WA |

This case involves Intentional Tort, we can prove outrage, intent, and harm. But, pro se litigant needs guidance on how to take each step through the litigation process. She has read books, taken a law class, and attended other trials. What other resources are available to show pro se litigants how to argue this case? Other lawyers agree with the merit of her case, but will not take it because they will not make enough money. She is highly educated, willing to learn...but where can one go to learn more?

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Best answer

    I agree with Mr. Rosenthal that the King County Law Library basically has every conceivable resource to help you through the litigation process.

    That said, here's some additional insight for you:

    1. Your legal claim is subject to a statute of limitations. In Washington State, the statute of limitations for many intentional-tort claims is only two years. So, be careful about how much time you spend teaching yourself the law.

    2. I trust that you're highly educated, and I respect the lengths to which you've gone to teach yourself the law. That's great and admirable. However, just FYI, even the most highly educated layperson might be unaware of the full array of available legal alternatives. For instance, here, you've concluded that your case involves only an intentional tort. (You might certainly be right about that, but it's tough to know, since you haven't described the facts of your case.) Just FYI, in many instances, depending on the specific facts, a plaintiff may in good faith assert a negligence cause of action in addition to an intentional tort cause of action. As one example, assault is an intentional tort; however, in certain assault cases, a plaintiff will allege that an employer negligently supervised the person who committed the assault.

    If the other person has liability insurance, the distinction between a negligence cause of action and an intentional tort action is usually critically important: A liability insurance policy typically does not cover injury or damage that is caused by intentional misconduct. Furthermore, most individuals are "judgment proof." So, if insurance is not available to cover the defendant, as a sad practical reality [1] it's typically unlikely that a plaintiff will recover anything in a lawsuit, and [2] it becomes difficult to find a lawyer, since lawyers need to pay their bills and feed their kids, too.

    In contrast, a liability insurance policy will typically cover injury or damage that is caused by negligent conduct. If insurance proceeds are available to cover the defendant, and if the case has merit, the chances of recovery increase substantially -- and it becomes easier for a plaintiff to find a lawyer to help.

    Point being: During your research and self-education, it might be worth looking into whether the other person has liability insurance, and evaluating whether you have a viable negligence claim in addition to your intentional tort claim. If you present a very detailed version of the facts, the lawyers here might be able to help you assess what types of causes of action might be viable in your case.

    I hope that answer helps a bit and adds some value to this discussion. Best of luck with your case.


  2. If you are truly going to run with this yourself, a very good resource will be your local law library. It will have practice guides that cover everything under Washington law, including how to allege an intentional tort in a complaint and all rules of civil procedure. The most helpful thing to you will be forms books that contain form pleadings for just about every type of legal action plus forms approved for use by the "judicial council".

    Of course, I must advise you to hire an attorney, but good luck if you do it yourself.


  3. Even if one is "highly educated and willing to learn", it is very difficult to be both a client and your own attorney at the same time. The litigation process is very complex and any number of small errors can cause the case to potentially be dismissed.

    Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. This is for informational purposes only. Attorney will take no action on your behalf unless and until a written retainer agreement is signed. There are strict time deadlines on filing claims and, as such, you are advised to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file such claims timely or you will lose any right to recovery.


  4. I have seen experienced, smart attorneys lose cases because of procedural blunders in complex cases. I have seen cases lost to below average attorneys who have deep experience with a particular area of law. If your case is complex, and your experience level low, the probability of a 'win' for you is likely not good- depending on the level of court you are in and whether you are facing opposing counsel.

    Best of luck to you.

    READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. We have not established an attorney-client relationship unless we have a signed representation agreement and you have paid me. I do five my 100% effort to get you on the right track with your issue. Sometimes that means legal educational information, sometimes that means counseling and non-legal guidance. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.

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