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Expungement of Eviction Action Record/Damages to Personal Reputation?

Phoenix, AZ |

A landlord files an eviction action against a tenant and loses at the eviction trial. The tenant suffers emotional distress and other monetary damages as a result of the eviction action/trial. The tenant, now (a Plaintiff) sues the landlord in a higher court for those damages resulting from the wrongful institution of the civil proceeding (the eviction). In addition, the tenant's name appears to be entrenched in the court system records under forcible detainers, thus, giving any future landlord he wants to rent from a reason not to rent to him (most landlords do not investigate the history of a case). Can the tenant claim damage to reputation for his name being associated with an eviction? Can the tenant file a Motion to Expunge the eviction record in the lower court?

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Attorney answers 1


The elements for the tort of malicious prosecution is intentnional institution of a court action without probable cause which is resolved in your favor. You can win a case without having a right to sue for this -- famous example OJ Simpson. If you weren't paying, but you had a reason, then the court was your remedy - defendant lost and you didn't need to pay. That is what courts are for. If you were current on your rent and were sued, you might have a case.

This advise is rendered with only a brief description of facts which complicates any answer. You should use this answer to make the decision to contact a lawyer and explain your circumstances in detail for the purpose of getting accurate legal advise. The answer is based upon Arizona law.



Thanks for the response, you're actually right on the money. That's exactly what I'm suing for. The only issue I see, however, is whether the original suit that was brought against me (when I was the Defendant--the eviction action) can be expunged from showing up under court records. It is my understanding that court records involving forcible detainers stay in the system for a long time (if not forever), and it is a negative connotation of which would likely prevent me from renting property in the state based on landlords refusing me in their screening process upon seeing the eviction suit. If I win my current case as a Plaintiff (or settle it), do you think seeking a stipulation from the Defendants to expunge the case is a reasonable request? Alternatively, if stipulating isn't possible, have you ever heard of a situation where a tenant could petition to have an eviction record expunged from the court records?

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