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Q: Defamation Case - How do I make a case? ( Answered,   2 Comments )
Subject: Defamation Case - How do I make a case?
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: countupir-ga
List Price: $75.00
Posted: 02 Oct 2006 10:27 PDT
Expires: 01 Nov 2006 09:27 PST
Question ID: 770188
I have a situation where I have been kept from my daughter for over a
year by her mother.  This is the list of things that occurred to get
me where I am today.

1. She has a friend call the police to get me put in jail claiming I
am abusive on June 15, 2005. Because she was able to show a scratch to
the police when they showed up I was arrested.  Her statement to the
detective was full of obvious lies. e.g. I didn't have a job and my
father flew in from the middle east to bail me out because I didn't
have a job. She also reported my father or I will kidnap our child out
of the country.

2. I get out of jail that day only to see she filed for a restraining
order 2 week prior to me going to jail.  Her reasons for that
restraining order were full of lies too. One particular incident she
refers to is on May 6, 2005.  The only proof I have that she is lying
in that situation is a conversation she had with my mother where my
mom asked her if I was abusive to her and she answered no, that I was
just mean on May 17, 2005. Another bit of proof I have are letters
from her on May 1, 2005 and May 16, 2005 where she states she wants to
be with me and that she is thankful that I have provided for her and
her older daughter and that she wants to have another child with me.

3. She recently is making declarations to the family court that I
abuse drugs and have had a drug problem which is easily proved false
since I have never even tried drugs and I am outwardly an advocate for
natural living and health.

The results so far is: I have had the criminal charges dismissed
unconditionally; I have been doing supervised visits since July 2005;
I have spent 10s of thousands in bail, domestic violence classes,
supervised visits and lawyers fees; I am now going to pay for a
psychological evaluation for a last attempt to have a natural
relationship with my daughter.

We live in Fresno, CA.  We both work in Fresno.  I am 30, she is 32
and our daughter just turned 2.

If you would like to see more information you can see some of the
documents on this site I am working on for friends and family.

Thanks in advanced.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 02 Oct 2006 11:43 PDT

You have described a troubling situation, and described it well.

But you haven't really been explicit about what you would like from a
researcher here at Google Answers.

Please take a few moments to let us know how we can best assist you,
keeping in mind that Google Answers is not a source of professional
legal advice.



Clarification of Question by countupir-ga on 04 Oct 2006 13:27 PDT
What I would like is for someone to give me an idea where to take my
complaint as if I were to represnt myself.  I would like to know about
where to get the sort of paperwork needs to be filled out, filed and
things that begin a civil case like this.  Do I even have a case?  I
am told by a detective in the local police department that I do have a
case and the family lawyer doesn't think it is worth it.  One of the
reasons I would like to get things going on my own is the chance that
this case will be looked at as frivolous.  As anyone can imagine it
doesn't feel frivolous to me but the court system has done nothing but
surprise me so far.

Request for Question Clarification by czh-ga on 04 Oct 2006 14:36 PDT
Hello countupir-ga,

Have you investigated any of the resources available from various
Fathers' Rights websites and organizations? Would research along thes
lines (including local Fresno resources) meet your needs?


I look forward to your clarification.

~ czh ~
Subject: Re: Defamation Case - How do I make a case?
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 04 Oct 2006 17:44 PDT

Defamation is a serious matter, and I understand your desire to see
this case through.

However, it is also the case that defamation can be quite difficult to
establish in court.  You basically need to demonstrate that someone
has spread untruthful remarks, has done so pretty much deliberately
and with intent to hurt you, and that the remarks have done damage to
you in a very concrete fashion.

All these may have occured in your case, and from your description of
the circumstances, you certainly seem to believe that they have. 
However, believing them to have occured, and establishing before a
court of law that they did occur are two separate matters.

For instance, you state that you have never taken drugs.  Someone else
says you have.  In this he-said-she-said sort of situation, how would
you convince a court of law that you are telling the truth, and the
other person is lying?  It can be a tough hurdle to get over.

But of course, defamation cases do go forward with fair regularity,
and people do sometimes win their cases.  I've outlined below a bit
about how this process unfolds.

But before going forward, let me point out the disclaimer at the page
bottom.  I am not a lawyer, and Google Answers is no substitute for
professional legal advice.  Please take everything here with the
appropriate grains of salt, and do consider consulting with a lawyer
before making your final decision.

Let's start with a general overview of defamation, which is a general
term that includes slander (spoken defamation) and libel (written
defamation).  Here's a good article covering the basics:
Can I Say That? Defamation Law Made Simple

Note that the article continues for several screens, and you'll need
to click through them to read the whole thing.

This is a general article, but the principles here are applciable in most states.  

For some specifics on California, we can head to a very useful document:

Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions

NOTE that this is a very large file (over 2,000 pages) that takes a
long while to download.

These are jury instruction (guidelines given to jury members) covering
a wide variety of civil matters that come before the courts,
including, of course, defamation cases.

You should look over the defamation section carefully, but here are
some excerpts to note:

Defamation per se?Essential 
Factual Elements

[Name of plaintiff] claims that [name of defendant] harmed [him/her]
by making [one or more of] the following statement(s): [list all
claimed per se defamatory statements].

To establish this claim, [name of plaintiff] must prove that all of
the following are more likely true than not true:


1. That [name of defendant] made [one or more of] the statement(s) to
[a person/persons] other than [name of plaintiff];

2. That [this person/these people] reasonably understood that the
statement(s) [was/were] about [name of plaintiff];

3. [That [this person/these people] reasonably understood the
statement(s) to mean that [insert ground(s) for defamation per se,
e.g., ?[name of plaintiff] had committed a crime?];


4. That the statement(s) [was/were] false.

In addition, [name of plaintiff] must prove by clear and convincing
evidence that [name of defendant] knew the statement(s) [was/were]
false or had serious doubts about the truth of the statement(s).

Nominal Damages

If [name of plaintiff] has proved all of the above, the law assumes
that [his/her] reputation has been harmed. Without further evidence of
damage, [name of plaintiff] is entitled to a nominal sum such as one
dollar or such greater sum as you believe is proper for the assumed
harm to [his/her] reputation under the circumstances of this case.

Actual Damages

[Name of plaintiff] is also entitled to recover if [he/she] proves it
is more likely true than not true that [name of defendant]?s wrongful
conduct was a substantial factor in causing any of the following
actual damages:

a. Harm to [name of plaintiff]?s property, business, trade,
profession, or occupation;

b. Expenses [name of plaintiff] had to pay as a result of the
defamatory statements;

c. Harm to [name of plaintiff]?s reputation in addition to that
assumed by the law; or

d. Shame, mortification, or hurt feelings.

Punitive Damages

[Name of plaintiff] may also recover damages to punish [name of
defendant] if [he/she] proves by clear and convincing evidence that
[name of defendant] acted with malice, oppression, or fraud.

?Malice? means that [name of defendant] acted with intent to cause
injury or that [his/her] conduct was despicable and was done with a
willful and knowing disregard of the rights or safety of another. A
person acts with knowing disregard when he or she is aware of the
probable dangerous consequences of his or her conduct and deliberately
fails to avoid those consequences.

?Oppression? means that [name of defendant]?s conduct was despicable
and subjected [name of plaintiff] to cruel and unjust hardship in
knowing disregard of [his/her] rights.

?Despicable conduct? is conduct that is so mean, vile, base, or
contemptible that it would be looked down on and despised by
reasonable people.

?Fraud? means that [name of defendant] intentionally misrepresented or
concealed a material fact and did so intending to deprive [name of
plaintiff] of property or of a legal right or otherwise to cause
[him/her] injury.


Note the part about "nominal damages" can win a case, and walk
away with $1 award from the jury.  It happens!

If you decide you want to go ahead with a case, give some
consideration to filing a small claims case.  This a much more
informal process than filing a full-fledged civil complaint, and is
limited to cases involving damages of $7,500 or less (so that is the
maximum you could claim in small claims).

The instructions for starting a small claims action in Fresno county are here:
Small Claims

If, instead, you decide to file a larger claim, you can begin by
filling out the form available here:
Civil Case Cover Sheet

and checking the box for a Defamation case, listed with "Other Torts".

You'll then have to call the Fresno courthouse for instructions on
filing the form, and next steps to take.  Their contact information is
Fresno Superior Court 

Finally, some prior answers here at Google Answers have dealt with
defamation, and are certainly worth a second look:
Defamation of Character/Slander
My sister is saying I'm insane. Is this Libel? How should I stop it?
Slander in California involving Public Employee 

One last have posted a website with detailed information
on this case.  Be aware that the child's mother may well be aware of
the site, and can possibly make a counter-claim of defamation, based
on the written record you have created (I'm not saying you've defamed
her, but she may feel otherwise).

I trust the information above will give you some good guidance for
whatever course of action you decide to undertake.  If there's
anything else you need, however, just let me know by posting a Request
for Clarification, and I'm at your service.

Best of luck to you and the whole family,


search strategy -- used bookmarked sources on defamation
Subject: Re: Defamation Case - How do I make a case?
From: daniel2d-ga on 02 Oct 2006 22:20 PDT
This is not defamation.  More like harassment and filing false police
reports.  Find a father's support group in your area - they may be
familiar with situations such as your and have contacts for you.  You
could meet with the district attorney's office and outline her false
reports and see if you can get them interested in pursuing a case
against her.  You could hire an attorney and file a suit for
harassment and for the money you have spent because of her.  You have
to fight fire with fire.  She is using the criminal legal system
against you - where the first one who complains has the upper hand.
Subject: Re: Defamation Case - How do I make a case?
From: keystroke-ga on 27 Oct 2006 10:10 PDT
You may have a good case for "alienation of parental affection" in
regards to your daughter.

Look in this search thread for ideas.


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