My son was accused of sexual harassment while in the military in March/April of 2011. The military gave him an article 15 but now, two years later, the accuser wrote an article for a military newspaper about the incident without naming him and the story she writes conflicts with the police reports. I would like to file in civil court, possibly for intention infliction of emotional distress. Is there a statute of limitations and am I allowed to file suit in civil court. The incident took place at Fort Meade in Maryland but we live in New Jersey. Must I file (if I can) in Maryland?
2 Answers from Attorneys
I doubt you could find an attorney who would take this case for many reasons. I assume from the facts you presented that there was some basis for the charge against your son since he was disciplined, although some dispute as to the specific facts between his version and the accuser's. So he would not be a good candidate for sympathy in front of a jury. In fact, once sued she might file a countersuit for the damages she claims to have suffered as a result of your son's actions. Since he wasn't identified in the article, he would have a difficult time proving damages, and these cases are always hard to begin with. Finally, in all likelihood the accuser would have few if any assets from which he could collect on a judgment were he to even get that far.
Attorney Sher makes some astute general observations about these types of cases. While no attorney can fully analyze a matter without looking at the specific facts, intentional infliction of emotional distress cases are extremely difficult to prove. Defamation cases require proof that the statements were clearly false.
Though it may not make sense to pursue this particular matter, to answer your specific questions, yes, there is a statute of limitations. In most civil torts it is 3 years but there are exceptions to this general rule. There are several issues in figuring out where suit may properly be filed but yes, typically you must file in the state where the wrong occurred.
While I hope this general legal information helps, it is not designed to replace an attorney consultation and it does not create any kind of attorney/client relationship.