Should I sue for libel? Am already getting a restraining order for stalking.

Asked almost 2 years ago - Steamboat Springs, CO

Woman who I ended a friendship with became extremely angry. Felt slighted and betrayed. About 19 months ago she began harassing my husband and me by sending emails, texts and facebook messages. We told her we wanted all communication to cease. It did. We thought it was over. Then about 6 months later, when I interviewed for a job, she resurfaced. Upon hearing I interviewed for a job as a counselor at a local school, contacted the school's full time counselor. She wrote emails to the full time counselor and the principal detailing why she thought I'd make a poor school counselor. The emails included personal details about my marriage and falsehoods. When she didn't receive the result she desired she wrote to superintendent and accused me of criminal activity, impropriety with a minor, false

Additional information

Accused me of having an affair with a former student. Accused me of keeping up with him on facebook until he was 21 (for some reason, not 18) and then had an affair with him while I was pregnant with my third child. All fabricated. Completely made up. She brings up the Penn State scandal as if to liken me to a predator. She included information that was accurate about a dalliance with a 22 year old man while I was married but separated from my husband. Nothing the school was interested in or needed to know.Needless to say I've kept my job because I've spent 12 years in this town building a stellar professional repuation and she has done just the opposite. She has verbally and physcially accosted two of my three children. One incident was a s recent as one month ago. I went to police. The elementary school and the middle school where I work is aware of her antics. A month ago she leaned into a car where my 5 year old was and said in his ear, "your mommy is crazy, and mean." All three children heard.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. James C Underhill Jr.

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . It sounds like you have two options. When she accosts you and/or your children in public, she is committing an assault. Call 911 and have her arrested. Leaning into your car, touching you or a child, or verbally abusing you beyond normal are all criminal acts.

    Second, you can file for a restraining order, and should do so. The latest action of leaning into the car is a direct physical threat. You should take to the court any emails, letters, etc. that you have showing that she's obsessed and continuing unwanted contacts. If someone saw the car incident take that person as a witness. You must tell the judge that you fear physical harm from her against you or your chlidren to get the order. If you tell the judge you're not really afraid of her, then the judge will deny the order.

    You may want to get a lawyer to assist with the restraining order so that nothing goes wrong and you get the order.

    Your best bet is to discuss the matter with a lawyer familiar with these issues and find out your rights and options.

    Many attorneys provide limited or unbundled legal services which means that you can obtain just the services you need, such as a consultation, documents, or appearance for a single hearing or mediation, and pay a lower cost. Neighborhood Law Office is such a firm.

    Good Luck
    Jim
    jim@NeighborhoodLawOffice.com

    NOTICE— This answer is based upon a partial understanding of the facts and may not be relied upon as legal... more
  2. Stephen Clark Harkess

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Generally, defamation claims are difficult to establish and not very worthwhile to pursue. However, the activity you describe is pretty serious and it might be worth considering a lawsuit.

    The main thing you have to consider is whether, even if you win, the lawsuit is gong to have the desired effect. The woman you describe sounds unbalanced. Will a lawsuit cause her to stop what she has been doing or simply fuel her actions? Will getting a money judgment against her deter her actions? Does she have money or property to satisfy a judgment? A civil judgment is only a piece of paper unless you can collect it.

    You can reach Harkess & Salter LLC at (303) 531-5380 or info@Harkess-Salter.com. Stephen Harkess is an attorney... more
  3. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Without a monetary loss, a defamation lawsuit will likely cost you thousands more than you would recover, and most defamation lawyers want at least 5k up front. A restraining order is always a good idea.

    Licensed in PA & NJ. 29% Contingency Fee. Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com

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