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

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

Posted

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.

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.

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3 lawyers agree

Posted

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 provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.

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1 lawyer agrees

Posted

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.

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Posted

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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8 comments

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

A restraining order is not appropriate in Illinois. Restraining orders are equitable relief in chancery. This is not a chancery matter. There is no basis for an action in defamation either, as the case would not be viable under Illinois law. The relief you suggest to this asker is not available in Illinois. Other relief is. Hopefully the asker will heed the suggestions of the Illinois lawyers and consult with one or more in person.

Scott Dale Mitchell

Scott Dale Mitchell

Posted

I think the difference here is the difference in how things are labeled from a different state to state. The term restraining order in a general sense could be construed to simply mean an order to restrain someone from doing something. I disagree that defamation would not be a "viable claim." In my response I identify that a defamation case would not be the best option. Your profile list yourself as a "domestic violence lawyer." A restraining order in California can be filed as domestic violence action in Family Law Court (court of equity). We also file restraining orders as a civil matter. But I stand corrected on the labeling. Of course this person should seek legal advice if he intends to go forward. I think most people are looking for general direction. Take care

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

And what possible benefit did you provide for this asker? It appears that you just chose to gather a couple of points at the expense of precise Illinois law. Your answer was misleading for the purposes of an Illinois resident looking for answers. As for my profile, thanks for looking but it does not fully define me or my practice. It simply fits into Avvo's neat little format which does not suit everyone.

Scott Dale Mitchell

Scott Dale Mitchell

Posted

Judy good luck to you!

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

Now there's a great comment that helps the asker! I think you have milked your very first answer for everything it's worth. There a re a whole lot of CA questions. Why not try your hand where you know the law? Additionally, it's rude and disrespectful to call someone by their first name if one does not know that person.

Scott Dale Mitchell

Scott Dale Mitchell

Posted

I apologize I had no intention of offending anyone here. Good Luck Ms. or Mrs? Goldstein.

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein

Posted

OK - a misunderstanding. No hard feelings.

Scott Dale Mitchell

Scott Dale Mitchell

Posted

Good deal...This was my first AVVO post so I am a rookie at the posting. I probably should have said that from the beginning. I'll stick with Cali questions. ;)

Posted

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.

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7 comments

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

OMG...they are like bees on honey! Only take the advice of an Illinois lawyer....please!

Scott Dale Mitchell

Scott Dale Mitchell

Posted

I have no interest in trying to retain this person as a client. A restraining order in California is the equivalent of an order of protection in Illinois. This stuff is not rocket science. It's standard stuff that any competent family law attorney can answer.

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

But in Illinois a restraining order and an Order of Protection are two very different remedies based on totally different laws and have different standards of proof.

Scott Dale Mitchell

Scott Dale Mitchell

Posted

Yes well I didn't recite all the burden's of proof to this question but rather gave a general directive. In Cali there are two types of restraining orders, Domestic Violence (via family court), and a civil harassment restraining order that requires the clear and convincing standard. I didn't feel it necessary to go into all the law on an AVVO blog/question. In any event, I think my answer is competent and would at least direct the client of possible avenues.

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

Counsel I know that you aren't trying to retain the client. You would not be volunteering on here then! My point is just some laws are very different.

Scott Dale Mitchell

Scott Dale Mitchell

Posted

No worries!

Peggy M. Raddatz

Peggy M. Raddatz

Posted

Best to you!

Posted

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.

IF YOU FOUND THIS ANSWER "Helpful" or " The Best Answer" YOU CAN THANK ATTORNEY RADDATZ BY MARKING IT SO because Avvo awards the attorney points. MS. RADDATZ is donating her time and talent by answering questions to help those in need of legal information. This is NOT a consultation and in no way creates an attorney-client relationship. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS PERSONALLY CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY IN YOUR LOCAL AREA who has specific expertise in the area of law you are asking about.

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Posted

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

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Posted

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
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This answer posted on Avvo is for informational and educational purposes only. There is no attorney-client relationship created or formed and you should not rely on this as legal advice. The suggestion is made that if you wish to protect your rights, you consult with an attorney immediately.

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