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 Thomas Swartz Your Own Question
Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3171
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
Type Your Legal Question Here...
Thomas Swartz is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Can one file a federal civil suit for defamation and fraud

This answer was rated:

Can one file a federal civil suit for defamation and fraud after having a suit dismissed in callifornia state court for essentially failing to produce documents for discovery (despite producing documents). The plaintiff is considering simply allowing the rulling of "tentatively dismssed" to be unchallenged and file in federal court that would allow evidence that would not be allowed in state court. The original case in state court was for breach of contract, fraud in the inducement and libel.

My understanding is that if I could find an analogous claim, within a federal statute and the damages exceed $75,000, I would be able to submitt a suit in a federal court. Is this accurrate?

The federal courts have limited jurisdiction. They can only hear cases challenging the constitutionality of a law, cases involving U.S. laws or treaties, cases between two states, bankruptcy law etc.

It does not have jurisdiction over traditional state law claims. And all the claims you mentioned - defamation, fraud, breach of contract, fraud in the inducement, and libel are all state law claims.

So, the federal courts would not have jurisdiction over these traditional state law claims.

There is one exception to this. And that exception is if both the plaintiff and the defendant are from different states. This is called the federal court's "diversity of citizenship" jurisdiction. And in such cases involving citizens of different states you must have a claim of at least of $75,000 in damages.

So, if the plaintiff and the defendant are from different states and the amount claimed is at least $75,000, you can commence a case in federal court.

Thomas Swartz and 10 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Fine, perhaps I could file under the whitle blower retaliation statute as I have a secretly recorded tape of a board meeting that clearly states that the Defendants knowingly took personal emails of Plaintiff to the licensing agency to get plaintiffs excluded from working in a licensed facility, which has in fact prevented plaintiff. This tape would not be allowed in state court, but my understanding could be used in Federal court. This tape is the key to the defamation claim, though I could have board members testify.

In any event, would that suffice to make a claim in a federal court?

You would only be able to go into the federal courts if you could allege a violation of a federal whistle blower protection law which only applies to federal employees and federal agencies. If you are not a federal employee or a federal agency is not involved, the federal courts would not have jurisdiction.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It is painfully obvious that I will not be able to get a federal action. Well is it a prudent or reasonable strategy to allow the "tentative" ruling of dismissal to go unchallenged and file another action based on slander and fraud if I could prove those elements?

The first suit is for breach of contract, libel and fraud inducement. The judge is so unbelievably bias that I dont think I could get a fair trial especially since it would be a bench trial. I attempted to have her dismissed under 170.6(5), but she simply denied it stating that it was untimely, without elaborating, though no rulings on merit were ever made and the case was subsequently "tentatively" dismissed. I feel as if the challenge angered her, but she was angry every motion I filed anyway. This is the reason why I am attempting another avenue.

Without knowing precisely what happened in your case, it is a little difficult to give you advice which would I would feel 100% certain about. And this is principally because don't understand exactly the meaning of the court's "tentative" dismissal. In general, however, it is best to continue with the case and not start another case. And this is because of another doctrine in the law called "res judicata." This doctrine basically provides that if particular court rules on an issue a court of the same level can not disturb that ruling. This is precisely to avoid the situation of litigants seeking another court if they get a ruling they do not like. So, if the court's "tentative" dismissal was any way on the merits of the case, another court would not look at it. The primary way to attack a court's decision is to appeal that court's decision to a higher court. If you are unwilling to use the appeals process, I recommend seeking out local counsel to get a full opinion on the meaning and effect of the court's "tentative dismissal" ruling.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I would love to seek counsel, but since I lost my 70,000 savings that resulted in this action and 10,000 addition to a crooked attorney, I cant afford one. Thus, on-line advice.

This is my final question; I am aware of "res judicata," but my understanding is that legal doctrine does not prohibit one from filing a separate law suit as long as it is a different claim filed?


The current suit was not dismissed on merit as she "tentatively" dismissed it because the real attorneys lied and said I didn't provide them with discovery, even though I submitted over 160 discovery questions dispite the rules against in excess of 35 (judge forced by to do that without the attorney having to prove it was a complicated case and therefore needed more discovery than regulated). I did, however, send via email, as was agreed, but attorneys lied about the agreement also and despite my emails confirming she dismissed the day before trial was suppose to begin. Not to mention she spoke to me as If I were a convicted child molester, so if I could file another suit, to avoid even walking into that particular courtroom, it would be desirable.


Thats My Final Post, for today at least.







You are correct that res judicata only applies to the same claim. And it only applies to decisions on the merits.

It does sound like this "tentative dismissal" was not a decision on the merits of the case. So, it is likely that another suit before another judge would be ok. Nevertheless, because I can't give detailed advice as to your particular situation, I encourage you to seek at least a brief consultation with a local attorney to review your case. Good luck.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

My question is can I file a suit against the company that breached a contract with me and file a septate suit against the CEO fort libel as long as I could prove the elements.

That way I could hold the CEO who committed the egregious acts financially accountable for the cost of the suit instead of the agencies insurance covering the cost.

Yes, separate suits against the company and the CEO would be fine. Since they are separate defendants you would not be barred by res judicata.