Legal Question in Telecomm Law in North Carolina

Telephone harassment

My ex-boyfriend in NC calls my home number many times a week. I have asked him to stop calling me but he continues to do so. I have caller ID now so I don't pick-up the phone and he never leaves a message. I want him to stop calling my number. Is there a letter I can send out to warn him? What can I do to avoid having to change my number and getting an unlisted number? Thanks.

Asked on 3/19/02, 5:30 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Friedman Law Office of John K. Friedman

Re: Telephone harassment

This is an interesting legal issue apart from the basic tort (civil harm) issues.

First, you can write a letter stating that the calls are causing you extreme emotional harm and therefore the caller (your ex-boyfriend) will now be on notice that continuing to call will be an intentional infliction of emotional distress which is actionable in both NY and (I'm sure) in NC. This last point is somewhat unimportant as he is creating a "minimum contact" with you in NY thus establishing NY's jurisdiction over his actions (i.e. you can sue him in NY; note, however, that getting him into the state to face the music is another story entirely).

You may be able to get your local telephone company to block any inbound calls from his phone number(s). You should check with them (be aware they may charge you for this on either a one-time or recurring basis).

If your letter is ignored (send it certified, return receipt requested, by the way as this will establish that 1) you sent it and 2) he received it) you may wish to get a temporary restraining order (TRO) against him for this behaviour. You can get this in either NY or NC and have it served on him by a process server. If he ignores the TRO, you can petition the court to find him in contempt (for this reason you may want to seek the TRO in NC as the NC courts will be more of a threat to him).

Finally, you may want to check into whether his behaviour is considered "stalking" within the meaning of the relevant NY and/or NC statutes.

I hope this is helpful though I realize that none of these solutions are quick or easy. Best of luck.

John Friedman

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Answered on 3/19/02, 6:12 pm

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