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  1. #1
    StacyInCalif is offline Junior Member
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    Paperwork to file for a Defamation action?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California

    In order to file a defamation/libel/slander action in California, what paperwork would I need to file? Generic forms for an unlimited civil action?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. #2
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Posting hx folks:

    http://forum.freeadvice.com/civil-litigation-46/harassment-update-questions-522089.html
  3. #3
    StacyInCalif is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zigner View Post
    Posting hx folks:

    [url]http://forum.freeadvice.com/civil-litigation-46/harassment-update-questions-522089.html[/url]
    Yes, thanks. Meant to cross reference my other thread.

    So, are you actually inclined to be helpful?
  4. #4
    Proserpina is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by StacyInCalif View Post
    Yes, thanks. Meant to cross reference my other thread.

    So, are you actually inclined to be helpful?

    Do you have $40-60k and 4-6 years to litigate?

    Seriously, defamation actions are incredibly expensive to litigate, and even if you win you can expect nothing to change.
  5. #5
    cbg
    cbg is offline Senior Member
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    Given that the odds are you'll simply tell us that we're all wrong because we don't know all the details, I don't know why anyone should bother.
  6. #6
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    Stacy, have you had your hearing on the restraining order yet? If not, I suggest you wait on the filing of a defamation suit until the court lifts the order against you (if it does). A defamation action will be more difficult to pursue successfully if the court has determined the order should remain in effect.

    That said, you should also be aware that California has a 1 year statute of limitation for defamation claims, so you must file suit within the 1 year period of time that started when the defamatory statements about you were first published.

    Although I really do not recommend you handle an "unlimited civil action" pro se, it is obviously your choice to do so. I advise that you do a lot of research in advance of filing your action (review the law and case law). See if you can access Lee Kaplan v Yaman Salahi as a case to review (although I am not sure it is available online).

    You file your suit in Superior Court if you believe you can prove damages above $7500. If your damages are under $7500, you could file the defamation suit in Small Claims (where you cannot have an attorney).

    Complaint forms are available at the court or you can download them from the court's website. I suggest you review several sample forms online to see what information you will need to include, or pay for one hour of an attorney's time to ensure that the forms are filled out correctly.


    (my post is based on the 0.1% of information provided by Stacy )
    Last edited by quincy; 07-13-2010 at 09:08 PM.
  7. #7
    StacyInCalif is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by quincy View Post
    Stacy, have you had your hearing on the restraining order yet? If not, I suggest you wait on the filing of a defamation suit until the court lifts the order against you (if it does). A defamation action will be more difficult to pursue successfully if the court has determined the order should remain in effect.
    We had another MSC hearing yesterday (which is the fifth MSC in this case), when the case was supposed to have been set for pre-trial. At the onset of the proceeding, the other party's lawyer dumped them, because they have no case against me. He actually requested a private conference with the judge in chambers, without the clients and without my attorney, to request that the judge please relieve him of representing these clients. The judge then gave them another 60 days to try to find a new lawyer.

    So at this point, 14 months after the RO went into effect and nearly a year since they claimed I had violated the RO and filed for contempt against me, there has still been no trial. Everything thus far has been a "settlement conference" wherein either the other party has failed to show up, or they have ranted and raved about why they will never sit down and try to settle this matter (much to the judge's consternation).

    Quote Originally Posted by quincy View Post
    That said, you should also be aware that California has a 1 year statute of limitation for defamation claims, so you must file suit within the 1 year period of time that started when the defamatory statements about you were first published.
    We are within the one year period, though the defamation is ongoing.

    Quote Originally Posted by quincy View Post
    Although I really do not recommend you handle an "unlimited civil action" pro se, it is obviously your choice to do so. I advise that you do a lot of research in advance of filing your action (review the law and case law). See if you can access Lee Kaplan v Yaman Salahi as a case to review (although I am not sure it is available online).
    Thanks for the suggestion. I do not intend to handle the entire case on my own, I simply want to get the ball rolling. Pulling paperwork and getting the case down on paper in a concise form where it's easy to look over and see the value of the merits is what I'm really after at this point so I can seek out a competent attorney who would be willing to go forward on a contingency basis. All six potential defendants have financial assets and real property which makes this worthwhile.

    I actually have been immersing myself in research as much as I can, and learning all I can about what these cases take to prosecute, as well as the burden on each of the parties. This case more than meets all burdens in California law and it's all provable on my end in black and white with many witnesses who will testify on my behalf.

    Quote Originally Posted by quincy View Post
    You file your suit in Superior Court if you believe you can prove damages above $7500. If your damages are under $7500, you could file the defamation suit in Small Claims (where you cannot have an attorney).
    Yes, I knew this.

    Quote Originally Posted by quincy View Post
    Complaint forms are available at the court or you can download them from the court's website. I suggest you review several sample forms online to see what information you will need to include, or pay for one hour of an attorney's time to ensure that the forms are filled out correctly.
    So back to my question ~ simply "general civil complaint"? I have seen nothing specifically about forms for a defamation action.
  8. #8
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    Oh dear, Stacy. Do some googling. Try "defamation complaint form." You will find what is necessary for you to include in a complaint for defamation. Use a standard complaint form with your attachments.

    Or hire an attorney to handle this part for you.

    But I doubt if you will find a defamation attorney who will work for you on a contingency basis.

    I am totally puzzled as to why you would still have an RO in effect a year after it was issued if there is no basis for it and there has been no court hearing on it. Something does not sound right.
  9. #9
    StacyInCalif is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by quincy View Post
    I am totally puzzled as to why you would still have an RO in effect a year after it was issued if there is no basis for it and there has been no court hearing on it. Something does not sound right.
    I have been searching and located some excellent examples. But thank you for actually answering the question... ...it's more than anyone else has done.

    For clarity, there HAVE been hearings. They have been continuances for a year now, with no evidence being presented and no argument from either attorney. Just the judge allowing the other side "more time" to build their case (or as my lawyer suggests, to come up with more excuses).

    To be honest, it all puzzles the daylights out of me as well. Most everyone I speak with says the exact same thing. As in, why on Earth is this still in place and why nearly one year after the contempt was initially filed in court is this case still hanging over my head. Makes no sense.

    As explained in my other thread that Zigner was so kind to link here, the RO was put into effect because I could not be in court the day it was issued ~ I was at the ex-parte, the judge made it temporary at that time pending a full hearing and I was unable to attend that full hearing. So, I understand completely why the judge felt compelled to issue the RO in the first place, it was a matter far beyond my control (a grave emergency with a client). I was in the process of appealing the RO when these people made a claim for contempt, which threw this into a tailspin.

    We had court dates in September 2009 (2), October 2009 (2), December 2009, January 2009, April 2009 and yesterday. The reason for continuances in September and the first date in October were for me to find counsel. The reason for the rest of them was stalling on the part of the other party's attorney ~ who is now, of course, no longer their attorney.

    I have a motion to terminate that was supposed to have been heard yesterday. That was thrown out the window when their attorney wanted to get rid of them as clients. The judge wants to be the nice guy and allow them some time to find another lawyer. My attorney says he highly doubts they will find anyone else to take their case. The guy they hired already has quite the reputation and bar association disciplinary record and he was likely the only one who would take the case. Truly a bottom-of-the-barrel lawyer.

    We are now set for September 16th. In the meanwhile, on June 10th (didn't go back and look if I mentioned this on the other thread) the other party made a false police report that I was harassing her at the courthouse, in the courtroom, during a criminal hearing she had on another matter. I was issued a citation by a Sheriff's deputy for this with an appearance date on September 13th. Because of this, I have been in contact with the DA's office and am going to have them prosecuted for filing a false report and abuse of process.

    Anyhow, this is truly a maze of nonsense and hopefully my "long national nightmare" will be over soon.
  10. #10
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    I would think that you would be so sick of courtrooms by now that you would not be anxious to start a lawsuit that is bound to keep you in a courtroom for many more months (or years). . . . . . but I wish you good luck with it all.
  11. #11
    StacyInCalif is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by quincy View Post
    I would think that you would be so sick of courtrooms by now that you would not be anxious to start a lawsuit that is bound to keep you in a courtroom for many more months (or years). . . . . . but I wish you good luck with it all.
    In truth, I am indeed sick of being dragged into court because of these people (three separate days this week alone, with another court date in two weeks and two court dates during the same week in September), however I am far more sick of the damage done to my name and reputation by them, the libel, slander and defamation perpetuated by them.

    I now have a restraining order against the individual who obtained the fraudulent restraining order against me, as of yesterday ~ so hopefully this will be the beginning of the end.

    Thank you for the good luck wishes. It may be a long road, but we are fully prepared to go the distance in order to get justice.
  12. #12
    StacyInCalif is offline Junior Member
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    Update

    After I obtained a reciprocal restraining order against this individual, she went on a posting spree on Craigslist about both myself and a friend, issuing threats in writing as well. Of course, in order to prove beyond a doubt it was her, subpoenas must be issued to Craigslist. We are in the process of doing so. Local police were called and reports made (both to law enforcement and to Craigslist) ~ we were told this individual has a long history of violence, and if visited or confronted by her to IMMEDIATELY go inside and lock the door (or get the heck out of there) and call 911.

    I've since spoken with other professionals in the same industry in my area who have experienced similar defamatory attacks by the same individuals and a group of us are prepared to move forward with action against the online publishers who allow such defamation to occur on their servers and using their servers (Craigslist, Google/Blogger, Yuku/KickApps, Yahoo) and to have the identities of those doing the libeling unmasked.

    We have proof of serious financial damages to each of our businesses and witnesses willing to testify to the fact that they refused to do business with each of us individually because of the slanderous/libelous statements posted online as well as repeated in the community.

    Please wish us luck!
  13. #13
    You Are Guilty is offline Senior Member
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    You're certainly going to need it. None of the publishers are in any way liable, and you had better hope they don't convince the judge your suit is officially "frivolous", because that's when the fun really starts.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquility
    Once you get to crazy land, it is only a guess on how to get out.
  14. #14
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    I agree with YAG, Stacy.

    Your suit will be against the poster who defamed you ONLY, and NOT the sites where the defamatory content was posted. They are immune from suit (in almost all cases) under Title V of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

    Google "section 230 of the Communications Decency Act."

    Even if you had a case that could potentially challenge 230 of the CDA (ie. the websites in question helped to create the defamatory postings), you would need not just a paltry $180,000 to pursue your suit (which is about the average cost of a U.S. defamation action today). You would be looking at spending $800,000+, and you would be in court for several years. And, based on what you have posted in this thread and your other one, you would lose.

    But, hey, good luck.
    Last edited by quincy; 07-29-2010 at 07:28 PM.
  15. #15
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
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    I think there is a CA Supreme Court opinion on point as well.

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