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Michael J, Esq.
Michael J, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 3459
Experience:  Licensed Attorney - represented hundreds of clients in criminal cases, family law disputes, traffic issues, and general legal issues. Youth Court Prosecutor.
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Ohio law. I want to sue a man who adopted my daughters 20

Customer Question

Ohio law.
I want to sue a man who adopted my daughters 20 years ago while I was stationed in Korea. At the time I was told by JAG that he couldn't do it without my consent, so I just ignored it and filed protection under the Soldiers and Sailors act thinking that would be the end of it. He hired an attorney to represent my side and continued the case. The attorney he hired was a few doors down from his attorney in a very small country town. "My" attorney did little more than notify me of hearings by mail.
Long, complicated story short: he won and moved. I didn't see my kids again until they were 18. They both hate me. They coached one of my young granddaughters to accuse me of molesting her, which thankfully the investigators realized and dropped the case. The allegation came shortly after we informed my oldest daughter, their mother, that this guy had been viewing child porn on his computer of little girls the same age as my granddaughters. This same daughter tried to tell me he was hurting her in a way she couldn't explain when she was a little girl, just prior to me going to Korea. At the time, I assumed she meant he was hitting her, and told her mother he's not to touch them again. Then he stole them and moved.
I couldn't figure out why the judge ruled in his favor. I have recently discovered that his family was a big deal around the area going back a hundred years. Several of them were mayor of the 2nd largest town in the county for 3 decades. The chief deputy on the sheriffs dept married into the family, making his kids relations as well.
My daughters helped him win a defamation suit against me for warning them about the child porn so they could protect my granddaughters. My youngest daughter spear-headed the plan and was his star witness. She committed several felonies and perjury to do it.
The attorney we hired did not put privilege in the answer...he didn't do a lot of things actually. When he took all of our money, he changed his advice from "he has no case" to "you should pay him and make the case go away"; told us the judge had already decided the case (which lasted another year). When I confronted our attorney, he withdrew. We had no choice but to move forward pro se. Not only did we loose, we were hit with a $40k judgement. My youngest perjured herself by saying she was at our home when we told her about the child porn which added slander and increased the judgement. This was not true, it was our oldest daughter that told her. I was able to (I thought) impeach her testimony using text messages she sent admitting she hadn't been her, etc.
The judge totally disregarded the impeachment, found against us on every motion we and our attorney filed. Was discussing the case with his attorney in chambers without us present when we were pro se. And on and on.
ANYWAY... when I had him on the stand during the defamation case he stated that he never knew how much child support I was paying. His justification on the petition to adopt was that I was not providing child support (which wasn't true). At the time I assumed that it must not matter what the petition said, there must have been some other reason that came out in court which I didn't know about. I trusted the judge! Big mistake.
So I just found out that he knowingly lied on the petition to adopt my kids. When I tried to file charges against my daughters for falsely accusing me of molesting my granddaughter and perjury, the sherriffs wouldn't even investigate. When I tried to file against him for filing a false petition with the probate court, they said it was too long ago, even though SOL didn't start running until I, and they became aware that he lied on the petition.
This isn't a case of me wanting revenge for something this waste of skin did years ago when I didn't care. I always cared, never wanted the adoption, but trusted the court dotted the Is and crossed the Ts.
Between his family connections in the county, my inability to be at the hearings, the local good ol' boy system, and I guess their disdain for military, I didn't have a prayer, and still don't. There are many details I didn't go over in this book, and I apologize for the length, but it saves a lot of back and forth texting.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello: This is PhillipsEsq. I am a licensed Attorney and I will be assisting you today.
I am sorry to read about your difficulties. Unfortunately, you cannot file lawsuit against the man who adopted your children 20 years ago. The matter has already been litigated. Any lawsuit you file against the man would most likely be dismissed due to the doctrines of Res Judicata (claim preclusion) and Collateral Estoppel (issue preclusion), which bar a party to a previous lawsuit from suing on the same claim or issues already decided by a previous lawsuit between the same parties. These doctrines prevent parties from tying up the Court system for a very long time for the same claims and issues.
I am so sorry that I do not have better news for you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I don't want to sue him for winning the adoption. I want to sue him for causing damages to me (losing my kids) by committing the crime of purjery on the petition to adopt. If he hadn't lied on the petition, the adoption would not have taken place in the first place.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the clarification. However, I do not have anything else to add to my previous response. So, I will opt out and give another Attorney the opportunity to further assist you.
Best wishes,
Expert:  Michael J, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is ***** ***** I'll be picking up where Phillips Esq. left off.

Unfortunately, he is correct. Additionally, any statute of limitations on a civil tort or a criminal act that he may have committed have run. These statutes give an injured party only a certain amount of time to sue before the suit is barred. As your previous expert mentioned, this helps the court system function properly by not typing up resources, but it also gives the accused a reasonable time to be "brought to justice" before being allowed to move on with their lives without the fear of being sued.

I hope this helps.

If you valued my time, please consider leaving a positive review. Experts don't get credit for our answers until you do. I'll be happy to follow up until you're completely satisfied.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The crime was not known to have occurred until recently. SOL doesn't start running until it's known. This protects victims. You are implying a situation that protects perpetrators. We hear about people suing years after all the time.
Expert:  Michael J, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

I certainly appreciate your point of view. However I assume you used JA to get expert information. Now, two attorneys have told you that it's too late for you to file something against this person. I also understand that it may be hat to accept, but all we can do is give you the info. Our opinion aside, if you want yet another opinion, you'd need to speak to a civil attorney in your state, who could also take a look at the circumstance and give you his legal advice. Whatever you choose, I wish you the best.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Then explain how others manage to sue long after the fact if it can't be done. The law plainly states that SOL begins once a crime becomes known. You seem to be saying there is some unpublished version...explain it to me.
Expert:  Michael J, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.

As for CRIMINAL charges, if you just learned about the perjury, then yes, the SOL would not come into play. However, that doesn't mean that the DA will prosecute something that is 20 years old and deals with a civil custody case. DAs very rarely prosecute perjury cases AT ALL, let alone ones that occur outside of their purview (civil and not criminal). You have already run into this, with the Sheriff refusing to investigate. So, for all intents and purposes, you will not be able to have him prosecuted for perjury.

As far as CIVIL charges go, "perjury" is a CRIME, not a civil cause of action. This means that you can not procedurally sue someone for perjury; it's a crime that has to be prosecuted by the DAs office. Even assuming perjury WAS a specific civil cause of action, no judge/jury in the world would allow you to collect over something that happened 20 years ago.

In conclusion, the ONLY way to have something happen for perjury is for the DA to prosecute criminally. If that's what you're interested in, you can call the DA's office directly (don't need the Sheriff to investigate) and tell them your story. However, I have already told you what will undoubtedly happen - they will decline to prosecute.

This is one of those situations where "it's best to move on" is the only possible advice.

Good luck. And sorry.