What are my chances of suing my husband's ex-wife for harassment, defamation of character and libel?

Asked over 1 year ago - Chicago, IL

I know that someone once said that the best revenge is to live better, but the ex-wife will NOT stop harassing me/us. My husband was separated in '03 and divorced in '06. We met/began dating in 05. The last seven years have gotten worse by the year....she made a false police report when she "bumped" into me, has filed petitions with the courts about me and my son and the petitions are filled with lies about my schooling, talking to people in her neighborhood and - the latest one is pending since October 12. She drives by our house, shows up at our church, and the list goes on. She is now subpoenaing my bank accounts, my son's school and info from banks I have never been at. She did not notify us about subpoenas till after he asked for copies. Out of 6, 4 are for me! Help!!

Attorney answers (8)

  1. Michael T Millar

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to speak to a family law attorney. You may be entitled to an order of protection for harassment.

    She may be sanctioned for the issuing subpoenas and not notifying the other side.

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  2. Judy A. Goldstein

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I wish my out of state colleagues had waited for the Illinois lawyers to respond. Your best approach is to hire an attorney and seek an order of protection. You may have other options but that is where you should start. You have endured a pattern of harassment for far too long. There are many good lawyers in your area. Consult with several. Hire the one you like the best.

  3. Peggy Margaret Raddatz

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . You need to talk to a lawyer in person because none of these facts seem to add up. What basis would she have to subpoena your bank account unless your husband is on it or unless it is about college expenses. As to following you there might be a basis for an Order of Protection. We cannot help you on here as we donot deliver legal services. You must visit an attorney in person.

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  4. Robert Thomas Kuehl

    Pro

    Contributor Level 13

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Under Illinois law, there is a cause of action known as malicious prosecution. This tort is disfavored, as public policy encourages exposure of wrongdoing and cooperation. Its elements include each of the following: (1) the commencement or continuation of a criminal prosecution, civil suit, or quasi-judicial proceeding by or on account of the defendant; (2) the termination of such proceeding in the plaintiff's favor; (3) malice; (4) lack of probable cause; and (5) the suffering by the plaintiff of injury or damage as a result of the prosecution.

    Defamation is defined as the publication of one or more false and unprivileged statements of fact to one or more third parties concerning an identifiable party, which publication harms that party’s reputation. In Illinois, a statement can be defamatory per se, where its meaning is apparent on its face and there is no need to prove actual harm. Our state recognizes five categories of such statements: a statement imputing an inability to perform or want of professional integrity in performing employment duties; words that prejudice a person or impute a lack of ability in a person’s profession; a statement that imputes the commission of a crime; a statement that imputes infection with some loathsome communicable disease; and words that impute a person has engaged in adultery or fornication. Assigning a monetary figure to presumed damages (mental suffering, harm to personal and professional reputation as well as standing in the community, economic loss, and personal humiliation) can be very difficult; it tends to be an inexact and arbitrary process. Alternatively, the statement can be defamatory per quod, requiring extrinsic evidence (where the defamatory character of the statement does not appear on its face). A statement that is defamatory on its face but does not fall within one of the five categories above is also per quod. Some defenses include truth, consent, innocent construction, absolute privilege (e.g., a statement made in a judicial or legislative proceedings, or to the police), conditional or qualified privilege (e.g., where the public has an interest in receiving the information), opinion, and the fair report privilege (public reports of governmental proceedings). With respect to the litigation privilege, that covers any statement made during any phase preliminary to or required for the proceeding (assuming the statement is pertinent to same, which requirement is generally liberally construed).

    False light invasion of privacy is a tort that is oftentimes plead (in the alternative) alongside defamation.

    I encourage you to sit down with an attorney and all relevant documents to discuss.

    Good luck!

    Robert T. Kuehl
    Kuehl Law, P.C.
    Chicago, Illinois
    312-840-8270
    Email: bob@kuehllawpc.com
    Website: www.kuehllawpc.com

  5. John Justin Hansen

    Contributor Level 7

    Answered . Malicious prosecution, or the filing of meritless lawsuit, can be prosecuted and can be the basis of a lawsuit against the filer of the suits. As far as an Order of Protection, as some of the attoreys have suggested, you may have grounds for the issuance of one, but you should talk to a family law attorney as well as an injury attorney for further investigation.

    Rockford Personal Injury Attorney
    J. Hansen Law Firm
    320 Shaw Street
    Rockford, IL 61104
    Toll Free: (877) 205-6625
    Phone: (312) 878-6410
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    Email: info@jhansenfirm.com
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    Twitter: @JHansenLawFirm

    This answer posted on Avvo is for informational and educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client... more
  6. David J. McCormick

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . All of these potential claims are not covered by any insurance policy, so unless she is extremely wealthy you will probably never see any money and be out thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees. Why not go to court ant take out a restraining order against her. You cannot file any subpoenas without a lawsuit, so if there is no lawsuit pending this would work in your favor.

    Your best bet is to start with the restraining order, and then you can call the police if she continues harassing you.

    Good luck.

    DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being... more
  7. George Costas Andriotis

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Best bet is to get a court order / restraining order forbidding her from continuing to harass you. You can do it yourself but would suggest getting an attorney to help you out.

    Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at www.serviceandjustice.com.
  8. Scott Dale Mitchell

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . You can file for a restraining order to prevent the harassment. If you have witnesses and documentation your request for a restraining order will likely be granted.

    You can file a defamation suit as well, however you better be prepared to finance such a lawsuit. An attorney will not take this case on a contingency unless she is wealthy and payment would be highly likely. You need to prove you were damaged in some way, reputation, emotional etc. Defamation cases can be successful, however, you have to weigh the costs, emotional and financial. And what will the suit accomplish? Money?

    Seems the restraining order would be most feasible.

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