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PO was issued against but I appealed and won a reversal. Can I sue my ex regarding expenses and defamation, slander, etc?

Tampa, FL |

Ex filed PO and won in local court. I appealed that decision and had earlier ruling overturned. Can I sue her for defamation of character, slander, legal expenses I uncured regarding the initial hearings and the appeal cost? She also filed a theft charge with local law enforcement, which they never pursued against me due to no evidence (just her word) but she indicated I broke into her home and stole items, which she also posted on Facebook. The entire incidents has hurt me professionally and personally. In addition, my minor children had to appear at the hearings (they were witnesses) that has been emotionally upsetting to them.

This is an ex-girlfriend. I have custody of my children (girlfriend is not the mother).

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Attorney answers 5

Posted

Dear ?,

No, you cannot sue your ex for anything related to your appeal. Any statements she made either in court or in court papers she filed cannot be the basis of any lawsuit for defamation because such statements are absolutely immune from suit on any grounds. As far as costs on appeal, it was up to you to ask for those in your appeal and up to the appeals court to decide whether you would be awarded them. Those costs would only include attorney's fees if there is a statute in your state declaring such fees recoverable as costs on appeal.

Yours sincerely,
Tim Provis
Appellate Counsel
Cal. Bar No. 1004800
Wis. Bar No. 1020123
Member: U.S. Supreme Court Bar

Posted

The Facebook statements could be actionable. A defamation claim has multiple elements, including damages. You should retain counsel if you serious about pursuing it.

There is no substitute for the professional advice of an attorney who knows your case and represents you. My post is not, and may not be relied on as, legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Best wishes for a just and expeditious resolution.

Posted

You need to put this question to a personal injury lawyer, but generally, no. There is another cause of action that may apply, however. Also for a personal injury lawyer to answer.

Posted

Facebook posting, yes. Court statements, no, they are subjected to litigation immunity. Bigger issue is are you willing to pay a lawyer an hourly rate to pursue the case. If not, let it go unless you enjoy wasting time playing Don Quixote.

Posted

Anything that happened outside of court (including casing the charges to be brought) might be actionable. But, unless you have substantial provable damages, you are wasting your money pursuing the matter. No one I know takes these on a contingent basis. So expect to spend thousands of dollars pursuing her and a judgment, which ultimately is probably not collectible.

What happened in court is subject to a litigation privilege, so no claim there. You are entitled to tax appellate costs if you file a timely motion.

This is a summary based on incomplete facts. You should not rely on it as legal advise. No attorney-client relationship is intended to be formed.