Good morning and thanks for your patience. I'm on the East Coast, so I'd turned in for the night by the time your response came through. I'll clarify my post of last night.
Your initial question was whether you could file charges. It is clear that you feel rightfully inconvenienced and personally and professionally embarrassed by this incident that occurred. While you may be able to proceed legally on either or both the civil and criminal
fronts (you need not choose between them as they provide different remedies) I do see pitfalls with the case, and I was trying to point those out.
The first is that while your husband is a suspect on a possible criminal assault charge, the matter may not really be ripe for a civil suit. Though nothing would prevent you from consulting with a civil litigator to scope this out at this point, the full scope of the suit as well as the kinds of damages wouldn't be known until the criminal matter is disposed of. And also, if it's disposed of incorrectly (if your husband were to take a plea to anything at all just to get the case over and done with) it could cost you the suit.
The second is that the complainant is only 16. You have said that her mother was involved in the reporting. Whether her mother acted out of malice or simply believed her daughter and had no reason to know the charge was false may present problems with a critical element in both the criminal and civil arena. Defamation suits are not easy to win unless the defendant's conduct is particularly egregious and irresponsible.
The third is that for a civil suit, you have to prove actual damages. They can't be speculative. You would have to be able to show that there were people who are not coming back to your restaurant as a direct result
of seeing the police question your husband on the premises, or because of the disruption of normal service during the incident on that particular day/night.
On a better note, cases -- either criminal or civil -- can certainly be proven circumstantially. So if you have a whole staff of witnesses who saw what really did happen and could testify on your husbands behalf whether he was a plaintiff on a civil case or a defendant or complainant on a criminal case, that would certainly be a great deal of evidence to assist a finder of fact (judge or jury) in a determination of the credibility of the employee.
If I've helped, please click the green Accept button so I can get credit for my work.
This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your state for specific legal advice.
Edited by FranL on 1/2/2010 at 3:18 PM EST