How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dwayne B. Your Own Question
Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 32318
Experience:  Began practicing law in 1992
11068102
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Dwayne B. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have a half brother who I haven't seen in over 15 years.

Customer Question

I have a half brother who I haven't seen in over 15 years. For some reason and totally unfounded ( never charge convicted or accused ) He has now been calling and harassing myself and other family members claiming I am a child molester. He has also pro claimed during his rants and raves that he will be on a life long mission to let the world to know of such atrocities. He is 46 and lives in Peoria Ill, I'm 55 and live in Chicago Ill. Question What can I do? Defamation suit, harassment suit, charges to file, and what kind of lawyer will or do I need along with what evidence do I need to collect?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 10 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.

There are really no criminal charges that can be filed under the facts you have described. You do have the potential for a slander/libel/defamation case and you can also seek an injunction to stop him from continuing to spread the lies. Most people would usually want to file the slander case in the same cause they file for the injunction.

Usually defendants have to be sued in the same jurisdiction in which they live. However, there are some things that a defendant can do which will cause venue to be in another location. You would have to visit with a local lawyer and do an in depth interview to see which, if any, actions of the defendant would apply and what jurisdiction it would be possible to bring a lawsuit.

Many people also ask at this point whether they have to have a lawyer or could file themselves. While you are allowed to file a lawsuit yourself and can't be required to have a lawyer, cases like this are extremely complicated and having a lawyer is highly recommended.

I'll give you a rundown on the basic way lawsuits and injunctions work.

The process of a lawsuit is essentially the same everywhere, with a few, minor procedural differences.

A lawsuit generally follows this process:

1) File the petition in the court with jurisdiction and venue. The court with jurisdiction and venue is usually where the defendant resides or has their place of business. You also have to look at the amount you intend to sue for to determine what court is correct

2) When you file the petition with the clerk of courts you will pay the filing fee and also ask for citation to be issued and service to be done. The clerk doesn't serve the papers so ask them if you have to take them to the sheriff's office for service or if they will do it. Just follow their directions as to that.

3) The sheriff will serve the defendant with the lawsuit.

4) The defendant will file their answer.

5) You can then do some discovery if necessary but you will need to check with the clerk and ask if your court allows discovery. Some small claims courts do not.

6) After that the next step is to set the case for trial.

7) During the trial you introduce your evidence and they introduce theirs.

8) The judge renders a judgment and a written order is entered.

That is the basic process of a lawsuit.

The steps to an injunction are:

1) An Application for TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) is filed along with supporting evidence such as affidavits. Usually the Application for Injunction is made at the same time. The TRO is a temporary measure and is not absolutely required before you get an injunction.
2) An Ex Parte (without the other side present) Hearing is conducted and the judge either issues the TRO or denies it. If the TRO is issued the judge orders a bond set in a sufficient amount to compensate the other side for any damages accumulated while the TRO is in place if the applicant fails to prove their right to an injunction.
3) A hearing on the TRO is set.
4) The TRO and notice of Hearing is served on the defendant.
5) The defendant should immediately begin following the judge's orders.
6) The TRO hearing is held and each side has an opportunity to present evidence and question witnesses.
7) The judge makes the decision on whether to convert the TRO to a Temporary Injunction or not.
8) If the TRO is converted to a Temporary Injunction then the judge sets a new bond to be in place.
9) Discovery is conducted by both sides.
10) A request for hearing date is made on the matter of converting the Temporary Injunction into a Permanent Injunction.
11) The hearing/trial is held on the Permanent Injunction and the judge issues a ruling.

These are what are known as extraordinary remedies and the procedural rules for these as well as the case law are EXTREMELY specific and difficult. If ANY mistakes are made the judge has no choice but to deny the relief and will not likely reconsider it in the future.

Just as an example, getting injunctive relief, both temporary and permanent, requires that evidence be offered of:
1) An immediate need,
2) Which, if not granted, will result in irreparable harm,
3) With no adequate remedy at law, and
4) (on temporary order) The person requesting the injunction is likely to succeed at a full trial on the merits.

If evidence is not offered to meet these four requirements, in a manner that the judge knows this is what the evidence shows, then the petition will be denied.

There are more requirements than this depending on the exact facts of the case but it is very, very easy to mess up one of these and end up having to pay damages to the other side just because your paperwork wasn't done properly.