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richanne96, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 343
Experience:  Attorney in private practice in Phoenix, AZ
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Sue? The problem is there are too many potential defendants

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Sue? The problem is there are too many potential defendants and perhaps no potential witnesses. And while, I realize that's not a way to start off my question, this is crux of the problem::

1. Legally purchased and stored firearm of mine 2010. Not stored at my wife's home as she didn't wish. Was stored at my grandmother's home where I was told I could store anything I want, which was also a county away from my wife.

2. My wife gets scared, doesn't call 911 (which is the right thing to do), but calls my father, who calls my uncle who lives in VA and who then comes and takes my firearm and transports is back to his home in VA, and I was later able to retrieve it after calming all these people down.

3. So criminally, it's conspiracy, and theft of a firearm, and then taking it across state lines. The statute of limitations have not run out on all of that I know. But, I don't want to put anyone in jail.

4. So, I do not learn that my father basically masterminded the operation until around April of this year (in marriage counseling). Which to me, means that a civil suit can still be brought since I just learned of the conspirator and what happened.

5. This leads me to believe, that I may only have a suit against my father. I do believe there was also someone else involved, which I believe I can call John Doe in a suit.

6. The damages, are easy. Although this would probably turn into a tort.. As being unable to protect myself, and having been the victim of this crime, I become extremely anxious and distrustful due to the betrayal. The counseling bills alone attest to this fact, and it did eventually destroy my marriage - I'm thinking Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.

7. I can probably file it, but why would anyone want to come forward (this is rhetorical). My wife is estranged, she may or may not want to. Most defendant's don't want to come forward. Perhaps the marriage counselor can testify to this? (still rhetorical)

8. So, I'm sorry, here is the question: who would I name as the defendant's and who would be a witness?

richanne96 :

Hello and welcome. I am reading your question now.

richanne96 :

It sounds like you may have a claim against both your father and your uncle who actually took the guns away to Virginia. The problem as I see it will be linking your emotional distress damages and the break up of your marriage to the theft of the guns. Is your wife's involvement in that reallly the one and only reason your marriage broke up? You do not state which state you are in but some states, like Arizona where I live, have comparative fault statutes that require the judge or jury to divey up the damages according to who and what are responsible of which percentage of fault and therefore damages. I would name the uncle and father as defendants and the witnesses will have to speak not only to the theft of the guns but link up your damages (counseling bills, emotional distress, falied marriage) to the theft of the guns. So, yes your marriage counselor can testify if you and the ex both waive privacy, otherwise she can not.


Thanks for your response. And I am aware that my wife and the counselor would have to waive privacy. My biggest problem, as I see it, is the "witness". My wife and I are physically separated in PA. And her recent actions lead me to believe she may not be cooperative. I don't know this of course. But, if she's not willing to waive her privacy, then who is my witness? And I would have to ask, are my other points correct?

richanne96 :

Anyone who has seen the toll all this has taken on you could be a potential witness as to damages, and of course, you can testify on your own behalf. Another issue you may face is if you file suit in Virginia (because your uncle lives there), you will not be able to bring a claim for alienation of affection. If you can, you should sue in another state, such as the state where the theft of the guns occurred. Whether you can sue for intential infliction of emotional distress again will depend upon the state in which you file suit -- states have different elements for such torts.

richanne96 :

The state of Pennsylania recognizes claims for alienation of affection and loss of consortium. It also recognizes the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, but the plaintiff must show that the defendant engaged in "outrageous conduct" causing the emotional distress. So the question would become whether the theft of the guns was "outrageous" given the situation (your wife calling her father in fear, and the father calling the uncle, who took the guns).


Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX get to your last point first; isn't it outrageous to commit what can be construed as a major felony if not a few felonies at the same time? I'm wondering what felonies are not considered outrageous conduct?


And, my question of witness, is not about the damages, which there are many in many directions; but more about the verification of my claim. Who is going to say, aside from me that "yes this did happen" (meaning the conspiracy-theft)? And how important is that to my potential case? Oh, and she called "my" father (she actually may have done a similar thing more recently but I'll leave that to another question - and she most likely did involve her family - but I don't know how deep a rabbit hole she dug)

richanne96 :

If there is no police report, and if you think your father and the uncle will both lie about the taking of the guns, and the wife will not waive privacy with respect to the therapy sessions, then you have no witness other than yourself to the underlying "outrageous conduct" you are alleging caused your damages of emotional distress and alienation of affection. You need to have more proof of this conduct than your own word or you should not file the lawsuit.

richanne96 :

The only other possibility would be if the uncle or father admitted to some third party about stealing the guns. There is an exception to the hearsay rule for "admissions of a party opponent." The father and uncle are your party opponents, so any admissions they made to anyone else about taking the guns could come in under that exception if those persons could be found and called to testify.

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