How can I file criminal charges and sue civilly?

Full Question:

I am being harassed, defamed, threatened, internet stalked, and and what might be considered impersonated via a false website in my name by someone in another state. This has been going on several years, but had recently escalated. This is negatively impacting my life and I need to know my options. Can I file criminal charges? What about suing civilly?
12/10/2010   |   Category: Civil Actions ยป Defamation   |   State: Tennessee   |   #23797

Answer:

We cannot give legal advice. The following is not a substitute for the advice of a local attorney. But we hope the information will be useful.

You definitely have legal options.

Your civil court options (suit for damages and injunction to halt conduct) are dependent to some extent on the amount of harm you have suffered, with regard to emotional distress. Intentional infliction of emotional distress is a tort, for which damages can be recovered. It helps if you have doctor's confirmation of impactful heightened stress and related symptoms. Defamation is also a separate tort, for which damages are also recoverable, if your reputation is being harmed by false public (on the website) statements about you. The court could also order a halt to the action, failure to abide by this order would result in contempt of court, which carries its own penalties. You need to schedule an appointment with a local plaintiff's attorney (a trial lawyer) and discuss the details of your case with him/her. If he/she agrees to represent you, ask about the potential for a criminal complaint as well.

A criminal, stalking-related complaint is probably possible, though the laws are much less well defined in this area, it being a relatively new field, as you know, and complicated by the fact that the website is in another state. You may be well served to file a police report with your local department, and to follow up on a regular basis, if only as ammunition for your civil case.

Your next step is to contact a local trial lawyer.