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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102356
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I was trying to sell my boat to potential buyers. My bitter

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I was trying to sell my boat to potential buyers. My bitter ex-sister-in-law, walked up to the buyer and told him lies about the condition of the boat. She told the buyer I was not disclosing information etc. None of which is true. Is this illegal? She prevented the sale by putting doubt in the buyers mind. Did she violate my civil rights? Is there anything I can do?
Hello, my name is Ely. I am here to help you. There may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies as I type out a reply. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice; and (2) my function is to give you honest information and not to tell you what you necessarily wish to hear.

I am sorry for your situation. Actually, what she did is cause for a civil action. She did not "violate your rights," since that term is used more for violations/restrictions of freedom; but she did act in a way that is a civil wrong, and is actionable against her in a Court of law.

What she did amounts to three actions here:

(1) intentional interference with prospective economic advantage;
(2) defamation; and
(3) false light.

To prove intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, the elements are (1) an economic relationship between the plaintiff and some third party, with the probability of future economic benefit to the plaintiff; (2) the defendant's knowledge of the relationship; (3) intentional acts on the part of the defendant designed to disrupt the relationship; (4) actual disruption of the relationship; and (5) economic harm to the plaintiff proximately caused by the acts of the defendant.' [Citations.]" (Westside Center Associates v. Safeway Stores 23, Inc. (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 507, 521-522, 49 Cal. Rptr.2d 793.)

The elements of a defamation claim are: publication of a statement of fact that is false,
unprivileged, has a natural tendency to injure or which causes "special damage," and the defendant's fault in publishing the statement amounted to at least negligence. Cal. Civ. Code §§ 44, 45a, and 46.

In order to prove a false light claim, a plaintiff must show that the defendant implied something false. Solano v. Playgirl, Inc., 292 F.3d 1078 (9th Cir. 2002).

You can actually sue her for these three causes and possibly even get punitive damages; whether you act or not of course, is your decision. The good news is that if you are trying to simply scare here, a "cease and desist" letter threatening such a suit unless she stops her behavior in the future is likely to work.

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for that information and quick reply. If I wanted to "scare" her, how do I get the "cease and desist" letter or this something I just draw u? To qualify, she would have had to succeed in preventing the sale? If I wanted to pursue, how would I file. I'm in California. My ex has 10 brothers and sisters, unfortunately 5 of them also rent at the same place I store the boat, so chances of this happening again is great. Funny thing, the buyer is the one who brought this action to my attention and offered to testify on my behalf in court!! Once I explained the situation, he was very understanding, but didn't buy the boat. The divorce court stipulated I sell the boat and use the $ to pay for a Special Master to investigate a company my ex and I own, which he has stolen, etc. Thank you!!
Rita,

How much is the boat being sold for?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
$35,500 - I owe the bank $22,000

Thank you, Rita.

Very often, the threat of a lawsuit does the job without the need to even file, like I said. An attorney's demand letter will go a long way to show that you are serious, and will threaten to file suit unless she stops.

Such a letter coming from an attorney's office carries much gravitas and is often effective. It is about $150 to $200 depending on the attorney.

You may also draft it yourself, but it may have less psychological effect coming from you as opposed from counsel.

If you wanted to actually file a lawsuit, that is a very nuanced, interwoven procedure, so I would not even know where to begin here. Perhaps this link will help:

http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/civil/

Sample template letter below:

Dear _______,

This correspondence is in regards XXXXX XXXXX disruption of my sale of my boat, (info), on ____. Please note that this constituted:

(1) intentional interference with prospective economic advantage;
(2) defamation; and
(3) false light.

You are hereby notified that if you do not cease and desist with such behavior, I will contemplate civil claim against you based on such tortuous actions, and will seek both punitive damages and legal fees.

I urge you to give this correspondence your utmost attention. No other warning shall be given before litigation.

Sincerely,

Your Name


IMPORTANT INFO: I hope this finds you well. Please use REPLY TO EXPERT to keep talking, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces because this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects negatively on me as an expert even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. Do not worry, you may always ask follow ups free after rating.
Ely and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you so much for your help... I'll have my divorce attorney write it up following your template. That was very helpful. If I serve the letter, I'm hoping the rest of the family will abide. I appreciate your help and excellent service!!!
Rita,

You are quite welcome. Good luck!