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Richard
Richard, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 45528
Experience:  32 years of experience practicing law and a businessman.
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im a biz owner & original founder of capapie, inc., a b2b

Customer Question

i'm a biz owner & original founder of capapie, inc., a b2b membership network and biz incubation co that is run & operated by its members.

as founder, my name, darlene dantes, is trademarked as it is essential to the biz's reputation.

i'm a victim of identity theft & it's caused serious emotional & financial domino effects: slander, libel, defamation of character, harassment, privacy issues, biz interruption.

i fear for my life and my family's lives (we receive threating & harassing calls). i filed an id theft report but this does not protect us from mental, emotional & physical harm.

i believe i know who the culprit(s) are after other members informed me of spam mail & website www.darlenebdantes.com which had been opened up specifically 2 "set me up".

how 2 get: the defamatory site be taken down asap, my identity(new ss#?) & good name back, the spamming and biz interference stopped (cease & decist?), trademark infrngmnt stppd (injunction?), financial recovery, PROTECTION!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Richard replied 4 years ago.

Hi there...I understand your frustration over this matter....Sounds like you have very solid grounds to file a defamation lawsuit against these perpetrators. Your lawsuit can include claim requests for all your above-mentioned items. I will set forth below the basic requirements for a defamation lawsuit for your informational purposes in understanding the legal parameters of such a lawsuit.

 

I am going to provide you information on both slander and libel since they are so closely related and so often confused with each other.

 

Both involve the communication of false information about a person, group or entity. Libel is any defamation that can be seen....writings, printing, effigy, movie or statue. Slander, is any defamation that is spoken and heard.

 

They are civil injuries that harm reputation, cause a reduction in respect, regard or confidence, or cause disparaging, hostile or disagreeable opinions or feelings against an individual or entity.

 

The laws regarding libel and slander are the same.

 

To prevail in a suit for libel or slander and recover damages, you must prove 4 things: (i) the defendant conveyed a defamatory message they knew or should have known to be false; (ii) the material was published (i.e., conveyed to someone other than you); (iii) you can be identified as the the person referred to in the defamatory material; and (iv) you suffered an injury to your reputation as a result of the communication.

 

I hope this has given you the guidance you were seeking. I wish you the best of luck!

 

 

 

The information given here is not legal advice. As all states have different intricacies in their laws, the information given is general only. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship with you. I hope this answer has been helpful to you.

Richard, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 45528
Experience: 32 years of experience practicing law and a businessman.
Richard and 2 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

but how do i get immediate action on taking the site down and the spamming 2 other members to log onto the site?

 

the culprit has opened up the website privately so one does not know who owns the site (opened it under "domain by privacy"). the web servers also is an out of the country server and claims i have no jurisdiction over the site -- but isn't this trademark infringement since i trademarked my name?

 

do i obtain a restraining order against those harassing me? a cease and desist order or an injunction on the person(s) who have put the site up and are spamming other members?

 

the worse part is how do i get legal help if i am having serious financial issues caused by the biz interruption? there are more threats of lawsuits now that this site has been put up.

Expert:  Richard replied 4 years ago.

I totally understand the problem and your concerns. Unfortunately, you will need to hire an attorney in your area who can act on your behalf to file one or more lawsuits....including immediate injunctions, cease and desist orders, restraining orders, etc. None of these can be done without proceeding through the judicial system. I wish you the best of luck!

 

I hope this has given you the guidance you were seeking. I wish you the best of luck!

 

 

 

The information given here is not legal advice. As all states have different intricacies in their laws, the information given is general only. This communication does not establish an attorney-client relationship with you. I hope this answer has been helpful to you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
unfortunately, this does not answer my question. i have researched enough to know that i have a case. the issue is i do not have the finances to hire an attorney, so i need guidance as to how to do this on my own. what specific steps so i can get the cease and desist, the injuction, etc so i can then request the proper companies to take down the defamtory sites and inform those who have been spammed that i am not the person they are making me out to be.
Expert:  Richard replied 4 years ago.

I'm sorry that I haven't been able to satisfactorily answer your question. I'm going to opt out so that one of my fellow experts can perhaps answer your questions more to your satisfaction. I wish you the best of luck!

 

Expert:  Nancy Delain replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for contacting Just Answer. I look forward to assisting you.

While we write back and forth, please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me.

There can be a delay of an hour or more in between my answers because I may be researching the answer to your question, helping other customers, or taking a break. If we are writing late at night, I may have to go to sleep and resume helping you the following morning.

By using this forum and/or clicking ACCEPT, you expressly acknowledge that any information I may give in response to your question in this forum does not constitute legal advice; there is no attorney-client relationship between us; and all questions and answers are visible to the whole world, including your opponent, and any information provided is therefore not confidential. Because of the public nature of this forum, by posting anything here you waive irrevocably any and all claim to confidentiality or privilege as to the content posted. Please post only that information that you are willing for your opponent to see and use against you if this matter goes to court. Any money you may give me in response to this posting (which may include both your agreed-on sum and any bonus payment) is a gift of gratitude, and is not intended as, nor should it be construed as, attorney's fees. For more information about your matter, you should consult with an attorney of your choice in a traditional face-to-face or telephonic meeting.

SeekingToRenderAid is correct: you will eventually have to bite the bullet and hire a lawyer to handle this for you. The law involving intellectual property and identity theft are simply too complex for us to be able to give you a thorough course on this board for everything that is involved in your case. That said, there are ways to get good legal help on the cheap: the best way for an IP issue is to go to a law school in Illinois AND California and see if you can become a client of their legal clinic. Law schools (especially those accredited by the American Bar Association) invariably run a class for second- and third-year students where the students, under the supervision of a licensed attorney, actually represent clients in matters such as yours. You'll need a law school that handles IP matters in their clinical program, which means you may need to call around; not all do. Another option is to find an attorney who will handle your matter on contingency; you can search the internet for "IP Contingency"; that brings up, as the first organic listing, the group of which I am thinking (the rules governing my answer to you on JA prevent me from making a direct referral).

That said, you can indeed get yourself started. You can send a cease-and-desist letter ("C&D") yourself (do a search on the internet to get a sample). This is just a letter sent to your defendant(s) telling he/she/it/them to stop what they are doing or face legal consequences. C&Ds are often ignored, which means that you would then need to file a civil lawsuit against your defendants in a court in a geographical location where they — not you — are found. That is, if you are in Illinois and California but your defendant is in New York, you need to file your case in New York. If you file the case for trademark infringement under the Lanham Act, you can file it in federal court as a "federal question." Go to the federal courts' administrative website, called PACER and found at http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov/ , and sign up for a free account. You'll have to provide a credit card to pay for documents you view/download (at $0.08/page). Then call the clerk of the court where you plan to file the action and ask how to get ahold of a sample Complaint.

Lawsuits are filed online in most federal courts (there are a couple of (very annoying) exceptions) and you'll need a password XXXXX get in to see the documents. You might be able to get the clerk to send you one or two samples though. Follow the format (not the words; the format) EXACTLY. Talk to the clerk about how to file your complaint pro se (without a lawyer) and follow those instructions EXACTLY. Have process served on your defendant(s) (the process server cannot be a party to the action and must be over 18 years of age; this says that you cannot serve process in your own matter but your over-18 friend or spouse or child can if they are not named as parties in the action; or, best, XXXXX XXXXX hire a professional process server). Personal service — hand delivery — is best, XXXXX XXXXX are other ways in which process can be served. Your defendant(s) have 20 or 25 days (depending on the method of service) to file an Answer with the Court.

You now have a bouncing baby lawsuit that is entering the discovery phase. Before you go into discovery, though, you should file a motion with the court for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to get the problem stopped immediately. The TRO is generally good through the duration of the case at the trial level; to get the judge to issue one, you must show that you are suffering damage that cannot be remedied with only money, that the defendants' actions continue to damage you, and that you are likely to win at trial. That's done in a hearing before the judge (or, in the case of a federal suit, probably before the magistrate judge).

None of this stuff is free; the federal courts charge money — in the $hundreds — to accept filings of complaints and of motions. You can ask to proceed in forma pauperis (as a pauper, fee-free) if your income is below the level set by that particular court. Again, ask the court clerk about how to do that.

Make friends with the office of the clerk of the court; these people cannot answer legal questions or provide legal advice, but they are The Experts in the procedures of their court and they will answer procedural questions.

Does this help? Please feel free to ask further if you need more information.

If I have answered your question, please click on ACCEPT so I can receive credit for my answer. If you have constructive comments about my response to you, please click on the Feedback link above and leave feedback for me; if you are satisfied with my response, please leave positive feedback even if you don't leave a comment. Remember that you are leaving feedback for the quality of my help to you, not for Just Answer's policies or billings (I have no control over JA, especially not over their billing of customers; I just control what I have written). If questions linger, please hit REPLY to let me know how I can help you further.

You can contact me directly through my profile at http://www.justanswer.com/profile.aspx?PF=12446316&FID=0 or simply put "For nancyd560623" in the title/heading of your posted question.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
thank you for your response. sorry it's taken me a while to review as my mother passed away unexpectedly. i appreciate your answer, but still need clarification. the culprit who has stolen my identity and opened up the www.darlenebdantes.com defamatory website does not state their name. they hide behind fake emails and websites. i believe i know who the culprit(s) is, but how can i obtain a TRO without real evidence (i have incriminating evidence from emails and facebook spamming)? i am assuming they will deny my claims of cyberspace terrorism (libel, harassment, defamation of character, privacy issues, identity theft, trademark infringement). what then ?immediately, i need to know if the cease & desist orders & TRO should be filed against the web server (go daddy.com), gmail (fake email addresses were set up under my name), plaxo, linked in, facebook, etc. i want the defamatory sites taken down immediately and spamming to my facebook friends and clients stopped.
Expert:  Nancy Delain replied 4 years ago.
No worries about your timing; please accept my condolences on your mother's passing.

I understand your frustration. Identity theft is a horrible thing and it can take you as the victim of it literally years to recover. The legal system has not kept up with technology or with the speed of information exchange via the internet. Therefore, this is going to be a frustrating and painful process for you.

File your lawsuit naming all the websites that carry the defamatory information, godaddy.com as the domain-name registrar AND "JOHN DOE" as defendants (you'll have to specify that John Doe is an individual or individuals whose identity(ies) is/are currently unknown). The web folk will respond with "We are INNOCENT," which is quite likely to be true, and they should at that point take down the offending websites. That's ok: you are including them in the suit for the sole purpose of giving the court jurisdiction over them. You will need to get the information on who registered the actual website through godaddy.com by means of a subpoena; you may also need a subpoena to trace the IP address(es), and thereby the identity(ies) for the "owner" of the plaxo, linkedin, facebook, etc. sites.

You really do need to bite the bullet and get a lawyer to represent you with this. I'm sorry: identity theft is huge, and it's more than we can handle on this board. I don't know how close to Chicago you are, but there are attorneys there who are well equipped to handle your matter. Visit a website called www.martindale.com and do a search on lawyers who handle identity theft in Illinois; you should come up with several. If money is an issue, ask the attorneys whom you call if they will take the matter on contingency. If no one agrees to that, then I would contact a law school that is relatively close to you; law schools have clinical programs that take on clients, many free of charge, for the purpose of training their second- and third-year students (and, trust me, NO practicing lawyer knows the law as well as a third-year law student who is gearing up for a bar exam). The students work for academic credit, not for money, and they are supervised by a member of the faculty who is admitted in the state courts.

If I have answered your question, please click on ACCEPT so I can receive credit for my answer. If you have constructive comments about my response to you, please click on the Feedback link above and leave feedback for me; if you are satisfied with my response, please leave positive feedback even if you don't leave a comment. Remember that you are leaving feedback for the quality of my help to you, not for Just Answer's policies or billings (I have no control over JA, especially not over their billing of customers; I just control what I have written). If questions linger, please hit REPLY to let me know how I can help you further.

You can contact me directly through my profile at http://www.justanswer.com/profile.aspx?PF=12446316&FID=0 or simply put "For nancyd560623" in the title/heading of your posted question.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

it's been 3 months since i've last inquired with just answer. i apologize, but my mother had passed away and my focus has been elsewhere. i have further follow-up question(s):

 

--the person(s) that are putting defamatory info on the web are hiding their true identities. i've done reverse email look ups and tried to obtain the administrator's info for the defamatory website under my name, and the info comes up as "private ". how can i file a claim against specific individuals if it is only circumstancial evidence?

 

1.)each person that is causing the internet terrorism is located in 3 different states: california, illinois and texas. i have been a california resident and have been living in illinois at my siblings for the last 6 months...where do i file the lawsuit(s)?

 

2.)the majority of the harm is being done via the internet and it's difficult to prove, but i do have a few emails and spam mail from facebook friends that have all been mailed defamatory info on me. all hide behind fake emails to get my facebook friends to log onto the defamatory website. is this also "mobbing" and/or "collusion"? these individuals were past co-partners in a business that has caused financial losses. one of the co-partners, who lives in texas, i believe was the one who stole my license and/or had access to it and then blew up the colored photograph and posted it on the defamatory website, saying "property of darlene b dantes". they feel they are in the right to do this, but isn't this "dirty hands"? as they are committing illegal acts to defame me.

 

3.) one is an ex boyfriend who has a personal vendetta on me has helped others file false reports with S.E.C. and FINRA. they have filed reports that i have commited securities fraud by using co-partners credit cards and not licensing securities. this is untrue,but my ex boyfriend is a financial investment advisor and came up with the idea. what is the first step i should take to view and dispute these false reports with the S.E.C. and FINRA?

 

4.) the other is an internet professional and on an email, threatens to open up an out of country server so they can not be traced. he is why i can not trace and officially name defendants. how do i approach this? name "john doe" and/or have cease & desist letters mailed to them and their place of employment?

 

4.) and another has a judgment on me because i could not afford legal fees tocontinue fighting the bogus monetary claim and i was forced to recently file bankruptcy and am waiting for the debt to be discharged. this person legally can not collect, so is terrorizing me on the internet. aren't there bankruptcy or fair collection practices i can use to protect myself?

 

in the meantime, the defamatory site continues to be online for the world to see. recent co-partners have beens scared off and more lawsuits seem to be zooming from this as the defamatory site claims i am a fraudulent criminal that steals people's credit (yet they have stolen my identity and have also open up accounts under my name) . people have entrusted me for years (i am a loan officer) witht heir private info and have always done right by others. now my business has been severely interrupted and i have suffered mentally, physically, emotionally and financially.

 

how do i start the lowsuit(s) in proper and put a stop to all of this?

 

 

Expert:  Nancy Delain replied 4 years ago.
Don't worry about the timing of your question follow-ups. We're here to try to help you whenever you're ready. No apologies needed.



I'm sorry to tell you this, but my response is not likely to be of much help to you. This has blown up to the point where you really, Really, REALLY NEED to hire an attorney. Before you tell me you cannot afford a lawyer, let me tell you how you might get one for little or no cost to you. There are a couple of ways to do that:



1. Find a law school that is reasonably close by. Law schools almost invariably run law clinics, which are overseen by licensed attorneys, in which 2nd- and 3rd-year law students handle the cases. This teaches the law student how to practice law (you don't get much of how-to in regular law-school classes), and the law students work for academic credit rather than for money. The clinics are usually funded through the schools and are provided as a service to the public. You may have to meet income guidelines to qualify for their help. NO ONE knows the law as well as a law student gearing up to study for the bar exam.



2. Every state has a system whereby legal help is accessible to low-income persons for no fee. This is not charity, it is not paid for with tax dollars: the funding for these services comes from the interest that is skimmed off the top of attorneys' escrow accounts, and that's a nice chunk of change. In New York (where I practice), the system is called Legal Aid; I don't know what it's called in Illinois, but I know it's there. Call the Illinois bar to find out how to qualify for help from the entity that is funded with IOLA or IOLTA money (IOL(T)A = Interest On Lawyers' (Trust) Accounts; same thing in all states, different acronym). I'm sure you'll need to meet income guidelines to qualify (the lower, the better).



I'll do my best to point you in the right direction with your specific questions, but listen to the attorney you hire over and above some random message you get from an unknown entity from the internet.



1. Jurisdiction is likely valid in the federal courts since this is an internet problem and an SEC problem and these present federal questions. You should probably file your lawsuit in your home state's federal court (since one defendant is located in Illinois, the jurisdiction would be valid in Illinois for all defendants).



2. I'm not sure what you're asking about with "mobbing" or "collusion." Is it that everyone is hiding behind fake emails, even your FaceBook friends? I don't know enough to know whether you can show collusion. Once again, YOU NEED TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY to help you sort this out.



3. You need to contact the SEC and FINRA, tell them that you believe you are the victim of fake reports and file a FOIA request to see the reports that implicate you.



4. "John Doe" is to be used only when you truly don't know who your defendant is. If you know this person is an internet geek and you know where s/he works, you are half a step from getting his/her name and filing properly. The biggest problem with a John Doe filing is service on the defendant, which usually must be done by publication, which may require permission from the court. Again, HIRE A LAWYER.



5. The person who is attempting to collect in the face of a bankruptcy petition is likely to be in violation of the automatic stay that is put in place when each and every bankruptcy case is filed. To continue with collections actions, the creditor must make a motion on notice to lift the stay and give good reason why the stay should be lifted. Report this activity to your bankruptcy attorney or, if you filed without an attorney's help, to the Trustee in charge of your bankruptcy case. This can be stopped in its tracks.



To file a lawsuit, contact the clerk of the court in which you plan to file the suit (see #1 above) and ask for the procedure for that particular court; every court has its own way of handling this. Understand that it will cost you a couple of $hundreds to file the suit.



If I have answered your question, please click on ACCEPT so I can receive credit for my answer. If you have constructive comments about my response to you, please click on the Feedback link above and leave feedback for me; if you are satisfied with my response, please leave positive feedback even if you don't leave a comment. Remember that you are leaving feedback for the quality of my help to you, not for Just Answer's policies or billings (I have no control over JA, especially not over their billing of customers; I just control what I have written). If questions linger, please hit REPLY to let me know how I can help you further.



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