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MyraB, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 371
Experience:  I have over 20 years experience in criminal law and civil litigation from pre-trial practice to appeal.
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My neighbor started something well over five years ago. She

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My neighbor started something well over five years ago. She gave a card to each of my four closest neighbors which had a picture of their front door which was red, on it. Then, we exchanged gifts each year, and we gave a red flower and the next year she gave a white one and too much food. Now after that, she gave one that had a card and bag which matched, but was not supposed to...a problem in itself since it referred to me having poor taste...but worse, every person I see has something that matches but is not supposed to or traditionally does not. You have seen this too, very difficult to avoid it; the same package contained a product with a shield and gold and silver ribbon, implying I don't have enough money, I can explain how it did that if you need that, it is very easy to prove and obvious that's the meaning. Now, people are showing that shield like police officers, and also, dark colors and ties which match too much or not enough. It would not bother me that much, except it is ongoing and has not stopped. Since it referred to me, anyone else could wear those colors etc. but me. When the landscaper and people I don't know do that, I can't make friends with them. I have seen this in meetings and decorations already, similar to the references to stalking, which could have related to someone who did not actually do that, for instance I feel uncomfortable seeing large groups wielding stalking apparatus and dressed for a reason. It sounds unlikely but one person was the victim sort of of the joke. My family even does it they don't know it happened to me. You may think it's someone else which is bad, but this person knows all the politicians up to Obama and are best friends with and godparents to and thus connected to Obama's largest campaign contributor, $5B. She was my friend for and supposedly still is for eight years, but turned on me and I think she is always doing that. She is just that way, it was someone before me, and then she decided to be nice and only or found out at this stage that she can only have one victim, guess who? Now when it is pervasive, everywhere, you would notice this yourself, so two favors, do you know what I am talking about or am I wrong? Do I have a cause for legal action re: this? I have already asked her generally about this and she said we can go back to the beginning before any of those gifts were given. However, the effects are not stopping, and the other neighbors involved accepted me enough before this and are polite but what must they be thinking? It's pretty scary for me. How to let that person know not to intimidate, they really did set trends just like a more well known celebrity has done, they are or would be more famous, they have famous friends and they founded a company so were not on T.V. or doing a lot of publicity with their own image like celebrities. I find it hard to watch T.V. and don't have to, but it's everywhere, and I can't really honestly say it does not affect me.People also wear things like the gold ribbon...

Hello and thank you for your question.

From your description of what happened and your discussion with your friend and her willingness to go back to the beginning, it seems the slights may have been unintended consequences. However, even if the conduct was deliberate, there would be no legal recourse unless it reached the level of intentional infliction of emotional distress which is a civil action and requires extreme and outrageous conduct, or criminal harassment which involves a fear of physical harm. Your description of events would not appear to qualify for either of these.

As you still seem to value her as a friend and communication is essential in any relationship, you may want to further explain to her your perspective, and give her the opportunity to explain what she meant by her actions. Also, because this person is a neighbor, you may want to look into mediation services that may be available in your community to resolve the current situation. The police, library or court may have resources to assist you. In these circumstances, it may be an option to resolve this situation without escalation where it clearly affects your quality of life and where you have to live near each other. Mediation uses a third person who does not take sides to facilitate the conversation and an agreement between the parties.

Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX she for five years continued periodically doing that, such that a trend was set in year 2, and then she was aware everyone was wearing red because of her, then she did the same action in year 3, without knowing it would do the same thing and it did, would that take it to a civil level? What about all the references to stalking, if that were all leveled against one person as I believe it is, is that not an offense?

Thank you for your response.


Even if you could establish a pattern of conduct meant to slight or insult, the actions you describe are too subtle and susceptible to interpretation to support either a civil or criminal action based on the conduct.

In a civil action, you would need to prove by a preponderance of the evidence, which means more likely than not, that your neighbor intended to harass you in this way with the intent to cause severe emotional distress. You would need to also prove that her conduct was beyond the bounds of normal decency.

With regard to a criminal case, you would need to first report the harassment to police who would conduct an investigation. However, the burden of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case is even higher than that in a civil case and it is unlikely a prosecutor would be able to meet that burden based on the actions you describe. Also, there is no evidence she intended to place you in fear of physical harm.

Based on the circumstances you describe, there does not appear to be a legal recourse for the situation other than mediation which is often conducted by attorneys or trained mediators. Mediation is useful to resolve disputes and situations such as yours that the legal system doesn't quite reach.

Let me know if you need any further information.

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