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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 27215
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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What has to be shown in order to file a civil lawsuit

Customer Question

What has to be shown in order to file a civil lawsuit against my ex fiancee regarding defamation of character, libel and slander. She was disparaging my name and that of my family as having physically abused our child and her to our bosses (both military) it has since been thrown out in court as lies. Do I have a case to file a civil lawsuit?
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that your ex-fiancee is doing this.

The elements of a defamation claim are:

  • an UNTRUE statement
  • of fact (meaning, not her opinion)
  • regarding the plaintiff (meaning that a reasonable person hearing the statement would know she was talking about you)
  • that tends to harm the reputation of the person about whom the statement is made, and
  • the plaintiff's reputation WAS harmed

With certain types of statement, reputational harm is PRESUMED because they're so bad. That means, if you can prove that she made the statements, the judge will assume you were harmed by them and you won't have to prove additional damage. Falsely accusing someone of any crime - including child abuse - falls within that category. Based on what you're saying, you do have a civil claim against her. Libel is written defamation, slander is oral. You're allowed to sue for either or both, depending on how she's making the statements.

It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
in the case that she made these allegations against my parents and I in order to get a TPO, which was later dismissed does that count as libel? Can my lawyer subpoena her supervisor and our military commander in order to gain statements of her slander? Will this be enough evidence to present to a judge?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.

If the statements were ONLY made in court, she's protected. But since they were made up, that's malicious prosecution. You can actually sue for the cost of paying a lawyer to have the charges dropped and the order dismissed.

Your lawyer can subpoena witnesses to testify as to the comments she made to them, and that is good evidence. It's not considered hearsay, because you're not admitting the statements to prove they're true (the opposite, actually - you're saying they're false. What's relevant is that she made them).

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Are the statements made in order to get a TPO protected?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.

They're protected from a defamation claim, but not from a malicious prosecution claim.

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