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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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If, someone has been able to do something which affects you

Resolved Question:

If, someone has been able to do something which affects you indirectly, in other words,
if someone did something and things changed so you were negatively affected, and you found out later they did it or may have done it on purpose and it was not done in your presence, is it harassment or anything like that? Anything against the law? I, appreciate the answer.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your situation.

is it harassment or anything like that? Anything against the law?

This depends. Can you please tell me:

1) What state is this in, and
2) What exactly did they do?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

WA. They interfered by taking up time, doing certain things in a certain way,


giving a gift that was a certain color, and it turned in to everyone using that color, so if it was only the gift it would be small but it also turned in to a larger issue. People I did not even know acted differently and people I knew asked for someone to look at our house when we did not say we wanted to sell, things I used to do did not work as well re: activities involving people, from shopping to any kind of interaction. It adds up, if the individual things are small. I think someone, could find out what was done. I know where it came from, more. Thanks...hope this is enough.

Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Thank you, friend.

CRIMINAL
Criminally, this does not seem to be "harassment." Under RCW 9A.36.080:

(1) A person is guilty of malicious harassment if he or she maliciously and intentionally commits one of the following acts because of his or her perception of the victim's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap:

(a) Causes physical injury to the victim or another person;

(b) Causes physical damage to or destruction of the property of the victim or another person; or

(c) Threatens a specific person or group of persons and places that person, or members of the specific group of persons, in reasonable fear of harm to person or property. The fear must be a fear that a reasonable person would have under all the circumstances. For purposes of this section, a "reasonable person" is a reasonable person who is a member of the victim's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation, or who has the same mental, physical, or sensory handicap as the victim. Words alone do not constitute malicious harassment unless the context or circumstances surrounding the words indicate the words are a threat. Threatening words do not constitute malicious harassment if it is apparent to the victim that the person does not have the ability to carry out the threat.

(2) In any prosecution for malicious harassment, unless evidence exists which explains to the trier of fact's satisfaction that the person did not intend to threaten the victim or victims, the trier of fact may infer that the person intended to threaten a specific victim or group of victims because of the person's perception of the victim's or victims' race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap if the person commits one of the following acts:

(a) Burns a cross on property of a victim who is or whom the actor perceives to be of African American heritage; or

(b) Defaces property of a victim who is or whom the actor perceives to be of Jewish heritage by defacing the property with a swastika.

This subsection only applies to the creation of a reasonable inference for evidentiary purposes. This subsection does not restrict the state's ability to prosecute a person under subsection (1) of this section when the facts of a particular case do not fall within (a) or (b) of this subsection.

(3) It is not a defense that the accused was mistaken that the victim was a member of a certain race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation, or had a mental, physical, or sensory handicap.

(4) Evidence of expressions or associations of the accused may not be introduced as substantive evidence at trial unless the evidence specifically relates to the crime charged. Nothing in this chapter shall affect the rules of evidence governing impeachment of a witness.

(5) Every person who commits another crime during the commission of a crime under this section may be punished and prosecuted for the other crime separately.

(6) For the purposes of this section:

(a) "Sexual orientation" has the same meaning as in RCW 49.60.040.

(b) "Threat" means to communicate, directly or indirectly, the intent to:

(i) Cause bodily injury immediately or in the future to the person threatened or to any other person; or

(ii) Cause physical damage immediately or in the future to the property of a person threatened or that of any other person.


What you have described so far does not seem to be harassment, criminally speaking.

CIVIL
This is a little more subjective. To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.

The closest I could think of may be that their overall actions may amount to INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS. To establish a tort of outrage claim, a plaintiff must show (1) extreme and outrageous conduct, (2) intentional or reckless infliction of emotional distress, and (3) severe emotional distress on the part of the plaintiff. Outrageous conduct is conduct "which the recitation of the facts to an average member of the community would arouse his resentment against the actor and lead him to exclaim "Outrageous!" Reid v. Pierce County, 961 P. 2d 333 - Wash: Supreme Court 1998 (internal citations omitted).

Perhaps, their actions may fall in the above, but you'd have to be a little more specific as to exactly what they are doing...

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

What if the person gave a gift to several people with a red door on the card, and one of the people had a red door on their house, and the gifts were


between the immediate neighbors of that house. We were at her house for dinner and there was a lot of food made, she implied I ate too much, he had told her about people he can dress up but not take out. Red started showing up everywhere and the local stores started making deli food and prepackaged and prepared food with too many items, obviously extra food.


Then national brands did it. Wouldn't that be distressing and outrageous to an average member of the community? What if it can be explained away as something else? If it started as a put-down and spread, that could be proven. Would it be the originator's fault? Maybe in their house it would be distressing, but all over the world, it would be highly distressing. After that took place, there was another gift where things did not match, matched but not well, and that spread too, now they should have realized by that time that that could happen. If that is not enough, what can one do where there is distress, originated by one person, but inflicted partly by others? How to handle it?

Expert:  Ely replied 9 months ago.
Hello,

Well this certainty seems to be mean. However, meanness is automatically illicit. In the end, it would be up to the jury to decide on whether or not what they have done in the actions above constitutes INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS. This becomes a case by case basis. If the individual feels that they have a strong case, they can file suit, but it would be up to the jury to decide, and they can be subjective.

If you feel that these actions may have an average person sitting on a jury (and a jury is made up of supposedly average, non-biased people) hold the Defendant responsible, then perhaps one can pursue civil relief here. But an attorney is strongly recommended to help navigate the system and draft, file, and argue the case. May I recommend the Martindale Directory - here. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 86711
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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