Hello, my name is Ely. Welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice; and (2) my function is to give you honest
information and not necessarily to tell you what you wish to hear. There may be a slight
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I am very sorry for your situation.
First of all, understand that just because your information is sealed by the Court upon completion of the Suspended Imposition of Sentence, does not mean it is unreachable. Law enforcement, government officials, and state agencies still have access to it - simply not civilians. If the attorney accessed your records, they likely did so via a manual search through the Court or via a "friend" in a position that allows access to such records. This in itself is not actionable.
actionable is whatever he stated to his client. If he specifically stated that you are a "convicted felon," then, this is (arguably) defamation
, an action in civil court.
The elements of defamation in Missouri are: 1. publication 2. of a defamatory statement 3. that identifies the plaintiff 4. that is false 5. that is published with the requisite degree of fault, and 6. damages the plaintiff's reputation Overcast v. Billings Mut. Ins. Co., 11 S.W.3d 62, 70 (Mo. 2000) (en banc).
In other words, if he called you a convicted felon (and you really are not), the attorney may be liable for defamation. However, you would have to show
that he used that verbiage to a third party to prove defamation. There is also a subjective matter here - did he cross the line since he is representing the other party? Or was he simply engaging in "zealous representation
?" In the end, this is a call that a JURY will make, which often times may be unpredictable.
Ergo, you may
have that civil recourse along with the complaint that you have already filed. Whether or not you feel this is worth the pursuit is your decision.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.
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