If i want to sue a government employee for defamtion of character and emotional distress, where do i have to file this lawsuit? In a federal or local court? What are the procedures(what forms and office do i have to file it to?
1 Answer from Attorneys
1. There are no forms for this. I strongly recommend that you consult with a lawyer to discuss the details before you even think of bringing suit.
2. Whether you sue in federal court will depend on: (a) whether there is a federal issue involved; or (2) whether the parties live in separate states and the issue is valued at over $75,000. Since you would be suing a state, the federal court would be the place to be.
3. Because you are suing the state or municipality, there are special rules. You can only bring claims to the extent the state/municipality has insurance.
4. When did the defamation occur? You generally have one year to sue from the time of the defefamation.
5. What specifically was said? Not all statements are defamatory and truth is generally a defense. And even if defamatory, it might have been privileged. Or were you a public figure within the meaning of the defamation laws? If so, you have an even more difficult burden. Without knowing all the facts, I cannot comment on whether you have a case or not.
6. What are your damages? Would damages be presumed or do they have to be proven? Would the damages make a lawsuit financially worthwhile? Lawyers will not take this case on a contingency basis unless they are very sure that they are going to get a recovery.
7. Emotional distress is very very hard to prove. What evidence, if any, do you have to support this? Have you been to a psychologist or psychiatrist? Do you have problems eating or sleeping? Are you depressed? Unable to work? If you cannot attribute the statement to the cause of any health issues, then your claim for emotional distress will not get very far.
These are just some of the things you need to think about.