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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 3171
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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Greetings. I am a Captain on Boeing 767 aircraft and have recently

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Greetings. I am a Captain on Boeing 767 aircraft and have recently had a dispute with a fellow employee. 22 years ago I suffered a conviction for a property crime. Previous to the conviction and subsequent to the conviction I have never been involved with the court system. During my hiring with the current company, there was NO question asked about past convictions, etc. The employee in question knows of this past history and has communicated to me, in writing, that if I do not voluntarily leave the company, he will disclose this information to management. I believe this reeks of extortion and blackmail. I stand to lose some $1.5 million dollars over the next eight years if I am no longer allowed to work. My question: do I have any recourse to file a civil tort action against this individual, or even criminal based on existing statutes? Your response is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Extortion would only exist if the person involved had asked for money or services in exchange for not disclosing your secret.

Arizona's criminal extortion law is found in Arizona Revised Statutes § 13-1804, which provides in relevant part as follows:

§ 13-1804 - Theft by Extortion

A. A person commits theft by extortion by knowingly obtaining or seeking to obtain property or services by means of a threat to do in the future any of the following:

6. Expose a secret or an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject anyone to hatred, contempt or ridicule or to impair the person's credit or business.

So, I don't believe you would have sufficient grounds to allege a criminal complaint against this person, unless of course he requested money or services.

With respect to any civil claim you could make, you would have a claim for defamation if the person had disclosed something untrue about you. Unfortunately, there is no prohibition in the civil law of telling or disclosing something true about someone (unless as mentioned above they request money for not disclosing).

So, unfortunately you are in a very difficult position. I don't believe there is any real legal action you could take against this person to prevent him from disclosing your secret.

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