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Legalease
Legalease, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 14461
Experience:  14 years experience corps, LLC's and partnerships; preparation, negotiation of complex contracts and business agreements
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I have a friend that is representing himself on a case in which

Customer Question

I have a friend that is representing himself on a case in which he is fighting against a man, who along with his family illegally recorded both computer conversations and illegal videoed her without her knowledge in order to use it against her in a vicious divorce battle. The woman and the husband who recorded her unknowingly are now divorced. My friend was one of the people that was illegally recorded without his knowledge when he talked to her. He now has filed pro se both a state and federal lawsuit regarding the same issue in court against this man and the family that helped him for the torts they committed against him in relation to their stolen communications of his messages over the internet.

He initially filed a state lawsuit, pro se, then found out the federal was probably more likely to meet with success because the lawsuit deals with internet wiretapping laws and the intercepts were between states. (Specifically he lives in Florida and the woman lives in Ohio) So his main concern is protection of his federal lawsuit. However, although the state of internet laws are still in flux, the state lawsuit is well bolstered by his state's wiretapping provisions and may well prevail and even bring about necessary legal
change in this relatively new area of law.

The woman that was illegally recorded also has filed her own separate actions against her now ex husband. Those are separate from my friends state and federal filings.
Since my friend's state lawsuit may face difficult jurisdictional issues, since he filed it in Florida and they are in Ohio, whereas the federal version of his lawsuit does not, it is a less certain gamble on his part to stay with the lawsuit.

The reason he wants to keep both is that by continuing to challenge the wealthy bullies family, he continues to take away resources and energy from the victims adversaries and so it is more likely that they will settle with the woman who is suing, rather than face a two fronted legal attack in which they are already on the wrong side of the law, as entered into evidence in a previous trial. This man actually admitted to the illegal recording under oath for which there are daily fines.

If any ruling in the state circuit court can hamper his federal case, then he will withdraw the state case, but he sees no reason to do so if they are considered separate
and would not hurt the woman's chances since the defendants would find
it extraordinarily expensive to have to fight the state lawsuit from
their comfortable and well established base in Ohio. The state lawsuit offers him an advantage away from their area of influence.

Anyway my question is this; since he already had paid the expensive
filing fee for the state lawsuit, and is really doing this as a kind
of advocate for the bullies victim, would him continuing with his
already served and answered state lawsuit in anyway interfere or
damage his federal lawsuit which is basically the same lawsuit, but
relies on federal wiretap laws, instead of his states wiretap laws?

He is concerned about whether he may be double dipping to file both a federal and state action. Or that one might throw the suit out in favor of the other one. Or if he screws up his representation on one that it might damage the other action. Thanks for your help. Customer
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Legalease replied 2 years ago.

Hello there

 

A party is not supposed to file a lawsuit in both state and federal courts at the same time based upon the same facts and evidence -- state and federal courts are capable of hearing an interpreting the case based upon both state and federal law when everything arises from the same set of facts and circumstances. If one of the cases settles and/or finishes up based upon a trial, then the outcome of the case can be used by the defendant in the other court to file a Motion to Dismiss and claim that the second lawsuit is "Res Judicata" -- meaning that the issues and law have already been heard in another court and the second court has no business carrying on with the case in front of it if the first court has already decided all of the issues raised in both suits. THe court will then dismiss it. This happens all the time when people who file a lawsuit in state court lose the case, they then try to take the federal laws that may be involved in the case and file it in the federal court, even when the state court has ruled on the federal issues (people believe that the state court cannot rule on federal issues and the states courts can and do regularly make rulings regarding the state and federal points of any given case). The federal lawsuit is then dismissed. What your friend must do is decide whether or not his state claim is the stronger part of the case or if the federal claim is the stronger part and then file in the court that he/she believes will be most likely to rule in his/her favor. Once that case is finished, if your friend can find any different claims that were not brought up in the earlier case then he/she can file in the other court.

 

--MARY

 

Please press the GREEN ACCEPT or SUBMIT button under this answer box to pay me for my time. THANK YOU

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Okay. So if he decides he should withdraw the State case does he need to withdraw it immediately? Or can he drag it out for awhile as long as he withdraws before going to court? How long does it take before something happening in the state case would affect the federal case?
Expert:  Legalease replied 2 years ago.

Hello again

 

He should withdraw the state case immediately because he does not want to be accused of harrassing the defendants either -- because that annoys the judges too. He can always re-file the state case later if the circumstances warrant it -- but he can never refile it if it is dismissed.

 

--MARY

Legalease, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 14461
Experience: 14 years experience corps, LLC's and partnerships; preparation, negotiation of complex contracts and business agreements
Legalease and 10 other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The basis of this lawsuit that my friend is representing himself on was that his emails and Instant Messages online were intercepted in another state by three defendants who used illegal spyware on another friend's computer. Assuming the interceptions are against the federal wiretap law, what would be the best argument in a federal lawsuit to keep the jurisdiction and venue in his state rather than the other state where they were intercepted?
Expert:  Legalease replied 2 years ago.

Hello again

 

The major argument for jurisdiction in any state court is the number of contacts that the parties have with the state in question. In your friend's case, if three defendants are located in one state and he is located in another state and files the lawsuit in his home state -- the three defendants in the other state may be able to convince the judge in your friend's state to transfer the case to their state because more of the persons involved in the case are located in that state. Your friend is probably better off filing in federal court under these circumstances because then no one has a good excuse to move it to any state court due to the allegations of violations of the federal wiretap laws.

 

--MARY

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