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Ask Ely Your Own Question
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 101313
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Sunday night, Monday morn, 1:30AM, approx

Customer Question

Sunday night, Monday morn, 1:30AM, approx I was in Panama City, FL Wal Mart @ corner of front and back beach road and was vehemently laced down, accused of asking for money outside the store and told to leave. Was told person on surveillance camera matched me with bead and GREEN JACKET. by the Co-Manager. Told him to go away, he's got the wrong person, but he continued and I told him I had just driven up from Kissimmee being @ a Corvette show, and was driving a 2012 Chrysler Town & Country, and produced cash with $100's and $50's and asked him if it looked like I was asking for $$$. He continued until I told him that I will own this store...then he started to apologise, and I purchased a ball cap and left to go to my motel, the Grand Cayman on front beach road, where I have stayed numerous times since the Sea Witch days. I'm from Atlanta and my attorney Warren Hoffman said he is not familiar with FL law in this matter. Do I have a case, and can you help me ? I am not very "rich", and do try to watch my pennies , being 75, and living on Social Security...but, I DON'T BEG !!! Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX XXXXX
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 5 years ago.
Hello,

I am sorry for your situation. If you have a case, then it is likely very weak here. Allow me to explain why.

You may possibly sue for defamation, but the issue here is that no third party heard the actual accusation. Under Florida law, the elements of a defamation claim are: the defendant published a false statement; about the plaintiff; to a third party; and the falsity of the statement caused injury to the plaintiff. Border Collie Rescue v. Ryan, 418 F.Supp.2d 1330, 1348 (M.D.Fla. 2006). Therefore, the defamation claim is somewhat weak.

You could possibly sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress, but the bar is high. To establish a cause of action for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, four elements must be proven: (a) deliberate or reckless infliction of mental suffering; (b) outrageous conduct; (c) the conduct must have caused the emotional distress; and (d) the distress must be severe. Dominguez v. Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, 438 So.2d 58 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1983), approved, 467 So.2d 281 (Fla. 1985). Here, it is hard to prove that the actions came to this threshold.

In other words, you may not really have a case, I am afraid. I am sorry.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I was told told I was seen on camera.
call me XXX-XXX-XXXX
Expert:  Ely replied 5 years ago.
Hello,

I am afraid that JustAnswer experts cannot call customers; we are only allowed to use this medium.

This does not change my answer. The point is that no third party believed that you are actually responsible for this in the end, and it was a case of mistaken identity. So defamation is out.

You can try to sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress, but again, that would be a weak case. I am sorry. You are simply not going to find someone to take your case because it is not very strong.

I hope you found my answer helpful, and if so please do not forget to click ACCEPT. This is the only way for me to get credit for my work – I receive no credit for my time with you unless you actually press ACCEPT, even if you already have a subscription. If you need more information, please use the REPLY button and I’d be more than happy to answer to your satisfaction. There is no fee for follow up questions before or after accepting, if we continue the conversation. If you feel that I went an extra step to help you, a bonus in the form of another accept or an “add on” (available after you accept) is truly appreciated.