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MShore
MShore, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 25285
Experience:  Negotiate, Draft, and Review many complex commercial agreements each year.
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My wife was verbally abused by a neighbor while she passed

Resolved Question:

My wife was verbally abused by a neighbor while she passed his car in the community?
Submitted: 6 years ago via ExpertLaw.
Category: Legal
Expert:  MShore replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for the post, what question can I answer for you regarding the verbal abuse?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

2 Questions:

 

(a) What should I do next - go to the police and register a case, file a case with an attorney for Personal Injury? and what are my chances of success?

 

(b) As my wife had sent an email identified the person who abused her by name and profession, is she liable for a case of slander/libel by the person who abused her

Expert:  MShore replied 6 years ago.
Hello, what exactly did the neighbor say?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
She started from the house and before had passed a couple of houses, saw a car that was parked on the side. Not realising it was one of the parents waiting for their kid to start in the school bus, she went around the car and immediately was stopped by a very agitated person from the side walk banging on the window. When She stopped and rolled down the window he started accusing her of driving at 50 miles and called out "Are You a f**king Lunatic, don't you see the car stopped in front of you?". - those were the exact words from him and he repeated this a couple of times. She was shocked and embarrassed knowing that our five year old was witnessing this conversation. She tried to calm him down even apologising to say that She had misunderstood the car to have been parked rather than waiting. But he would not stop. Thanks to the person sitting in the car who came out to pacify and get this person to stop shouting.
Expert:  MShore replied 6 years ago.
ok, has your wife sought any psychological treatment as a result? I ask because an actionable assault requires the threat of physical harm, which did not occur.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Not yet. She has not sought psychological treatment, however has been significantly impacted and disoriented coming-off this experience.

Expert:  MShore replied 6 years ago.
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX until a mental health profession diagnosis her as having emotional distress brought on by this incident she would not have a claim against the other party because the other party's action are not criminal (no threat of violence) and yelling at another adult is not actionable unless the adult being yelled at suffers emotional distress as a result and such distress is reasonable under the circumstances.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

On the second question, is my wife liable to a libel/slander case because she went public in a community forum with he being verbally abused and identifying the person, profession and his address. To be precise she used the below words in the email to the Community Forum.

 

A quick update on the previous thread - Homeowner living atXXXXXhas had a similar unpleasant experience with the owner ofXXXXXwhile driving with her 14 year old son, past his home. I googled to find that the name of the owner atXXXXX- Joeseph C Dorfman and that he is a pediatrician by profession. I would expect a person in such a profession to know better than harassing and verbally assaulting women driving with their kids. Going forward even if there is a genuine traffic violation, he or anyone for that matter is expected to report to authorities and not resort to bullying the drivers.

I am not sure if the owner ofXXXXXhas subscribed to this google group. If he has not, and any of his friends/acquaintances are in this group, please forward the details to him. I wish that he gets an opportunity to read and respond. An explanation for his behaviour and an apology would be even better.

Expert:  MShore replied 6 years ago.
Hello, yes she is. This is because in her statement she stated: "I would expect a person in such a profession to know better than harassing and verbally assaulting women driving with their kids." This implies, via use of the plural forms of woman and child that he has engaged in harassment and verbal assault, both of which are legal conclusions, on more than one occasion in the past or that during their interaction there was more than one woman and child in the vehicle. She could be held liable for slander.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Should we prepare for a defence for the Slander and what is the recourse given the incident that triggered the reaction was my wife was verbally abused. There is one other women in the neighborhood who was verbally abused as well and there is a trend that my wife was reacting to.

 

Expert:  MShore replied 6 years ago.
Hello, it is unlikely he would file suit against you for slander here, the statement are not so damaging as to warrant the effort and expense of filing suit. Rather than plan for a defense, your wife should remove the post and/or issue a retraction. Unless your wife witnessed the other incident of verbal abuse or it is accepted as fact (i.e. he does not deny it) commenting on another alleged incident as though it occurred would be slander if it did not.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you. One last question - the post has already been removed. Should she also send a formal retraction by email. Is there a merit for me to sit with the neighbor and close out the issue or is there a risk to that

Expert:  MShore replied 6 years ago.
Hello, yes she should publish a retraction/clarification statement. There really isn't any risk to the sit down with the neighbor, it may help to put the matter to rest.
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