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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I have a civil suite against an organization for stalking. They

Customer Question

I have a civil suite against an organization for stalking.
They managed to get it removed to federal court from florida court.
Now they are asking the judge to dismiss the case, partly on the grounds that in their view I didn't list all the necessary elements.
My understanding is that in civil law there are usually three to four elements a plaintiff has to prove.
I'm saying the stalking was a deliberate attempt to terrorize me and thus casued me to go to great expense to secure my personal safety.

How many elements would there be that I would have to prove(and name in the complaint) and what would be the names?

I believe one element would be intent. Another element would be actual damages.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

Unfortunately, your understanding is only partially correct and something so many pro se litigants misunderstand. Yes, every cause of action, both civil and criminal, require proving the elements of that cause of action.

Under FS 784.048, the law sets forth the elements required to prove stalking:

(a) “Harasses” means to engage in a course of conduct, directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in such person and serves no legitimate purpose.

 

(b) “Course of Conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose.

 

Unless otherwise provided by law, a person commits the crime of stalking if, with intent to harass another person, the person engages in a course of conduct reasonably likely to harass that person, including but not limited to any combination of the following: “Credible threat” means a threat made with the intent to cause the person who is the target of the threat to reasonably fear for his or her safety. The threat must be against the life of, or a threat to cause bodily injury to, a person.

 

Thus, the elements are 1) intent to harass, 2) engaging in conduct reasonably likely to harass (based on the definition in the statute above). However, the threats have to be against life or to cause injury to you, in order for them to be actionable under state law.


Here is what the FL jury instructions, which is what the court tells a jury, state that you have to prove:

8.6 STALKING
§ 784.048(2), Fla. Stat.

To prove the crime of Stalking, the State must prove the following element beyond a reasonable doubt:

(Defendant) willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly [followed] [harassed] [or] [cyberstalked] (victim).

Definitions.
“Harass” means to engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes substantial emotional distress in such person and serves no legitimate purpose.

“Cyberstalk” means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose
.

While this is the criminal instruction and says beyond a reasonable doubt, it is the same elements for a civil case just you must prove them by a preponderance of the evidence.




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