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Please give me a few moments to review your question and post an Answer below. I thank you for your patience in this matter because I have been having intermittent issues with the website and for some reason have not been able to access this question for a few hours. THANK YOU
Hoping that you are able to access the web-site, review my question and respond some time today.
Hello again Lori --
I absolutely apologize for that. It seems that the computer hooked directly into the internet connection is working fine, but the wireless connection is shot. Modern technology -- we all have to LOVE it don't we?? LOL
Turning to your situation, what you have here is a case of Defamation of Character / Libel (libel is where the defendant actually prints or published the defamation as she is doing here on the internet - it is a civil lawsuit that you can file against the person using your photos or your essence/persona as a basis for something else. Because the "characters" she is "creating" are easily recognizable to you and your friends as being based upon you and your friends, she does not have the right to publish these stories in a public forum as she seems to be doing. You see, many people make the overall mistake that if they simply change a name they can base a character on a person they know who is not in the public eye, and that is simply not the truth. If there are enough elements of this character to identify her as you to people who know you (and that goes for other characters that she is using as the "friends" in her internet posting) then you have the right to sue her for Defamation of Character because what she is doing is harming your reputation and the reputation of the other people she is doing this to along with you. And, even if she claims that she had "no idea" that what she was doing is against civil laws (and criminal laws in some instances) -- this defense that she was simply negligent and not deliberately malicious will not work in this situation. You see, if you were a public figure -- a celebrity or someone else who deliberately puts themselves in the public eye -- then you would have a harder time proving defamation of character -- you would have to prove that the statements were not true and that she acted out of malice and not simple negligence when she created this character based on you and other characters on people that you know. But because you are already a private figure and have the right to keep your private life private you have a very good chance of recovering a damage award for this. Here is a link to one of our sister websites where it explains the Florida rules and laws for the elements of a Defamation of Character claim: http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/florida-defamation-law
Now the point here is to decide where you want to go with this. I do suggest that you hire an attorney in your county who specializes in this type of law in order to send an immediate "cease and desist" letter to her with a threat to sue her and your ex for defamation of character and that you will get all of the people she has included in her little "game" to sue her collectively at the same time. Hopefully that will be enough to get her to stop this behavior and then you can decide from there what you want to do and how far that you want to take this matter with the assistance of the attorney.
Please let me know if you have further questions on this matter. I do believe that you have an actionable claim here against her -- but if she decides to stop doing it after the cease and desist letter then you may want to decide to leave it at that so long as she does not take it any further. To find an attorney who handles these matters you should contact your local county bar association and ask for several referrals to attorneys in your area who handle such claims and you can speak to a few of them and decide who you would like to take these matters further with, if any of them.
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