You Can Sue But You Can't Win (If You Are A Man) by Charles E. Corry, Ph.D.

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Contents

Tort claims

Spousal tort claims

Malicious prosecution

Malicious abuse of process

Extreme and outrageous conduct

Assault and battery

Sexually transmitted diseases

Breach of fiduciary duty

Civil conspiracy

Negligence

Defamation

Theft

Protection orders, criminal convictions, and collateral estoppel

To sue or not to sue?

If you do decide to sue


 

Tort claims

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Moderation in the protection of liberty is no virtue; extremism in the defense of freedom is no vice.

Senator Barry Goldwater

When all else fails and you've been accused of everything short of the rape of the Sabine women (How did she miss that?), but the jury didn't believe her stories any more than you do, there is always the American option of a law suit. Three of the male members of the Equal Justice Foundation have pursued that option through trial as of December, 2002. It bears repeating that a man taking a case to a trial by a judge is simply a long slow way of him pleading guilty. But, for reasons stated below, a man taking his case to a jury isn't likely to be any more successful.

You have finally worked your way through all the false charges and probably a divorce. You have cleared your name but she has the house and a lot of your money. The rest you've given to lawyers but you are getting back on your feet again and wonder if you have any recourse under the laws of Colorado?

From a criminal standpoint, basically no you cannot sue or bring charges against her, although we are trying to remedy that. Perjury and false allegations or reporting don't count if you are a woman. Currently perjury under C.R.S. § 18-8-501 et seq. is virtually impossible to prove and district attorneys simply will not prosecute such cases. Women can, and do ignore court orders with impunity. However, if you can afford at least $25,000, and she has assets, like the house, that make it worthwhile, you can sue her for civil damages. 1

The first requirement of a civil lawsuit is that you to have a lot of money to waste when you finish with the criminal and civil courts, and associated leeches. However, a primary objective of both the divorce and domestic violence industries is that all your money gets transferred from your pocket to theirs. Child support, and even alimony, are trivial amounts compared to what these bloodsuckers will try and take from you. But somehow you manage to hang on to enough that paying a lawyer $200 per hour seems cheap and losing another $100,000 seems a small price to pay in defense of freedom, liberty, and justice. You have acquired a deep understanding of "We pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor!" and you are willing to follow in those footsteps.

In particular, before signing any agreement that contains boilerplate "release of all claims" terms your attorney should make you aware of your right to sue under tort law if you have been falsely accused or subjected to any of the following actions.

It will certainly be cheaper, less time consuming, and better for your sanity to simply sell out and release her from all claims. However, for those few who adhere to the principle of death before dishonor, and have the money, a civil suit might be considered. Such suits also help the next guy as a woman might think twice before starting in on him if she knows she might be sued.

If you weren't married to her, you don't have the divorce complication, so skip to the malicious prosecution section.


 

1. We are indebted to Gregg Greenstein of Frascona, Joiner, Goodman, and Greenstein in Boulder for excerpts from a 1996 article he published in Colorado Lawyer.


 

Spousal tort claims

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Spousal tort claims are possible in Colorado but cannot be joined with the divorce action (Greenstein, 1996). The Colorado Court of Appeals has held that tort claims and contract claims are not permissive or compulsory claims in dissolution of marriage proceedings (see Dunkleman and Carlson, 2001). So don't even think about these possibilities until the divorce is final and all charges and restraining orders against you have been cleared. However, she may well attempt to stall divorce actions, particularly where custody of your children is an issue. Thus, we have listed the statute of limitations on each possible action. If you are planning to sue, talk with your attorney about the best strategy if a time limit is being approached. Also be sure you can pin dates down because they are certain to move for dismissal if the date is uncertain or filing was within a day or so of the time limit.

One of the goals of the Colorado Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act is to promote the amicable settlement of the disputes that caused you to get divorced. It is supposed to work smoothly and will if you can keep your divorce out of the courts. But very likely that didn't happen or you wouldn't be reading this. And if she has charged you with domestic abuse or violence the entire intent of the dissolution act has been destroyed.

Disallowance of tort claims in dissolution of marriage cases doesn't mean one spouse can't sue the other for tort claims outside of the divorce action, however. Be aware, though, that this is a two-edged sword and she may well try to sue you, as well, or before you sue her. Your attorney should be able to help you minimize any possibility of counterclaims.

Malicious prosecution

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If you can prove that there was no reasonable ground for the complaint(s) she made against you, or that it was maliciously entered, and in all cases where the complaining witness willfully absents herself from or fails to appear at a hearing or the trial, you may seek damages for malicious prosecution.

The statute of limitations on this claim is two years after the cause of action accrues.

But before you get too excited about filing suit against her keep in mind that the domestic violence checklist commonly provided by family courts to women seeking divorce or sole child custody asks them if the other parent has ever done, or threatened to do any of the following:

• Blaming all problems on you;

• Following you;

• Embarrassed you or demeaned you (put you down);

• Interrupted your eating or sleeping, e.g., woken you up to have sex.

All of these are considered domestic abuse or violence and are thus probable cause to file a criminal complaint against you. And if the court finds that she had probable cause to file the charge, then you have no grounds to claim malicious prosecution.

Thus, before you consider filing a malicious prosecution claim ask yourself the following questions:

• Have you ever killed any living thing?

• Have you ever served in the military, on a police force, or studied marital arts? By inference, you are then a "trained killer" who is to be feared.

• Have you ever owned or carried a gun or any other weapon or used explosives or other dangerous agents?

• Have you ever been in a fight, hit, or threatened anyone either in anger or in self defense?

• Have you ever broken or hit any thing in anger or frustration?

• Have you ever been drunk?

• Have you ever used illicit drugs or abused prescription drugs?

• Have you ever yelled at or disciplined any woman in any fashion for any reason?

• Have you ever referred to any woman in derogatory terms at any time for any reason either directly or indirectly?

• Have you ever yelled at or spanked your children?

• Have you ever yelled at or disciplined any pets?

• Do you cuss or yell when you are angry or have been injured?

By "ever" it is meant at any time in your entire life. There is no statute of limitations for allegations against you. And such allegations need not be proven as the burden of proof is on you. For example, did you in fact chop down that cherry tree? Aha, you have killed!

Unless you can answer no to the all of the above questions it is extremely unlikely that a jury will find in your favor on malicious prosecution should you even be able to get your case before one.

The trial will not be on the issue of whether she maliciously prosecuted you but on whether her emotions and feelings justified her actions for one or more of the reasons listed. Nor will medical evidence be admissible unless it supports her case.

Bear in mind that today perjury and the subornation of perjury are adequate to show probable cause for her charges against you. Hearsay is admissible as evidence. Therefore, she can claim there were reasonable grounds for prosecution and that there was nothing malicious about it. And she will have the full support of the courts.

It is an understatement to say the deck is stacked against you if you attempt to bring a claim of malicious prosecution against her.

Malicious abuse of process

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If you can prove she used the charges and restraining orders with malicious intent to cause you harm, without reasonable grounds, and that her actions caused you actual damages, you may be able to seek damages and attorney fees for malicious abuse of process.

The statute of limitations on this claim is two years after the cause of action accrues.

As noted above, the domestic abuse checklist commonly provided by family courts to women seeking divorce or sole child custody asks them if the other parent has ever done, or threatened to do any of the following:

• Blaming all problems on you;

• Following you;

• Embarrassed you or demeaned you (put you down);

• Interrupted your eating or sleeping, e.g., woken you up to have sex.

All of these are considered domestic abuse and are thus reasonable grounds to seek a restraining order. If the court finds that she had reasonable grounds to file for a restraining order, then you have no basis to claim abuse of process. And it doesn't matter how many times she seeks such orders, or with how little justification or evidence, or how many times the court may have denied her requests.

Again, before you consider filing a malicious abuse of process claim ask yourself the following questions:

• Have you ever killed any living thing?

• Have you ever served in the military, on a police force, or studied marital arts? By inference, you are then a "trained killer" who is to be feared.

• Have you ever owned or carried a gun or any other weapon or used explosives or other dangerous agents?

• Have you ever been in a fight, hit, or threatened anyone either in anger or in self defense?

• Have you ever broken or hit any thing in anger or frustration?

• Have you ever been drunk?

• Have you ever used illicit drugs or abused prescription drugs?

• Have you ever yelled at or disciplined any woman in any fashion for any reason?

• Have you ever referred to any woman in derogatory terms at any time for any reason either directly or indirectly?

• Have you ever yelled at or spanked your children?

• Have you ever yelled at or disciplined any pets?

• Do you cuss or yell when you are angry or have been injured?

By "ever" it is meant at any time in your entire life. There is no statute of limitations for allegations against you. And such allegations need not be proven as the burden of proof is on you. For example, did you in fact chop down that cherry tree? Aha, you have killed!

Hearsay against you is quite acceptable to the court.

Unless you can answer no to the all of the above questions it is extremely unlikely that a jury will find in your favor on malicious abuse of process.

The trial will not be on the issue of whether she maliciously brought restraining orders, or took other malicious actions in the court against you, but on whether her emotions and feelings justified her fear of and actions against you for one or more of the reasons listed. Nor will medical evidence be admissible unless it supports her case.

Extreme and outrageous conduct

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Outrageous conduct is committed if, by extreme and outrageous conduct, an individual intentionally or recklessly causes severe emotional distress to another. To qualify as outrageous, the conduct must go beyond all possible bounds of decency and be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.

Many divorces occur after an incident of alleged abuse and a restraining order was filed. The conduct that gave rise to the restraining order may be the basis of an outrageous conduct claim.

The statute of limitations on this claim is two years after the cause of action accrues. However, if the basis of the claim is assault and battery, a one year statute of limitations may apply.

An incident or pattern of physical abuse, property damage, harassing phone calls, or stalking may give rise to a claim for extreme and outrageous conduct. If her conduct is also a violation of a criminal statute, the conduct should be deemed "outrageous." However, Colorado courts have not yet decided as a matter of law that criminal conduct is outrageous conduct in the civil context. Thus, perjury on a woman's part probably doesn't qualify, nor are you likely to be able to file criminal charges for those broken car windows or slashed tires.

Her interference with your visitation rights and disparagement of you in front of the children is probably not extreme and outrageous conduct. The position in Colorado courts is that a woman's behavior in doing such things is reprehensible, but not outrageous. The courts specious reasoning is that such conduct is all too common between individuals in a hostile divorce involving children. Instead of putting a stop to such conduct, and enforcing court orders, you don't have a claim for enforcing visitation using outrageous conduct as a basis.

A spouse who falsely alleges that they have AIDS may have committed outrageous conduct. Courts have held that the ex-wife had a viable claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress based on allegations that her ex-husband had, during the marriage, falsely told her that he had tested positive for AIDS and that she should leave with the parties' son so they would not see him suffer and die. The husband made the allegation as a back-door attempt to obtain a divorce and spousal support. As this case demonstrates, divorce cases are ripe for unusual facts giving rise to outrageous conduct claims. Whether giving you, or alleging another venereal disease might qualify as outrageous conduct might be worth exploring with your attorney (see below).

However, actions that would clearly be outrageous if committed against a female are not very likely to be considered the same if committed against a male.

The standard of proof for actions taken by a woman against a male are also very much higher than the reverse. For example, if a man claims a woman is stalking him he will need photographic evidence that is date and time stamped and authenticated as part of the recording. It will also be essential to prove the date/time stamp on any of your pictures or videos is accurate. A woman will not be held to the same standards, however.

In general, circumstantial evidence against a woman will not carry much weight. Tire tracks that match her car, scratches on her car where she used it to destroy your property, seeing her in the vicinity shortly before an act of vandalism was carried out, etc. will not suffice.

Audio recordings will generally not be admissible unless she introduces them.

Medical evidence will only be admissible or discoverable if it supports her case.

Assault and battery

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An assault giving rise to civil liability occurs when the defendant: (1) acts with intent to make contact with the plaintiff or with the intent of putting the plaintiff in apprehension of contact; and (2) the plaintiff was placed in apprehension of an imminent contact by the conduct of the defendant; and (3) the contact was or appeared to be harmful or offensive.

A battery giving rise to civil liability occurs when: (1) the defendant acted with intent of making contact with the plaintiff's person or with the person of another, or acted with knowledge that such contact would probably result; and (2) the defendant's act resulted in a contact with the person of the plaintiff; and (3) such contact was harmful or offensive.

Outrageous conduct and assault and battery may overlap. Threats to physically harm and actual, intentional physical harm from a woman can give rise to a civil claim for assault and battery.

You are probably going to want at least one witness that she assaulted you, and medical records if you file for assault and battery, as juries don't seem to think blows by a woman are dangerous. Hitting you up side the head with a rolling pin is likely to be regarded as a joke even if it puts you in the hospital with a fractured skull.

It is also wise to be sure the witness is willing to testify in your behalf and is likely to be around in a couple of years when the case comes to trial.

Counting on one of her girlfriends as a witness to her assaulting you probably isn't a good idea, even if the girlfriend initially says she will testify on your behalf.

The statute of limitations on assault and battery claims is one year from the date the cause of action accrues. The one year limitation may preclude you from using assault and battery in a civil action. If she has filed false charges against you in a divorce, it may take longer than a year to clear your name. Of course, if you're not married to her, have at least one witness willing to testify, and required more than superficial medical treatment, you may get further with a civil suit than trying to press criminal charges against a woman. A sad fact of gender bias in our legal system.

A strategic note, as well. If she charged you with criminal domestic violence, and you were found innocent, there is nothing to prevent her from filing a civil suit against you for assault and battery. So if you are thinking of a civil suit against her under tort law, you might want to wait until the one year statute of limitations on assault and battery has run out before filing. That will preclude her using her original charge again.

Sexually transmitted diseases

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A man, particularly a spouse, who is innocently infected with a sexually transmitted disease may have several tort claims to assert against the woman who appears to have transmitted the disease. Those claims could include negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, outrageous conduct and battery claims. If you have good evidence you stand a chance with this type of claim.

In one case the wife was aware that she had AIDS. She knowingly infected her 30-year old husband with HIV. A jury awarded the husband $8 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages. It is unlikely he collected the money, however.

Breach of fiduciary duty

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Spouses stand in a confidential relationship with each other, and each has the responsibility to act with good faith and fairness to the other. However, a breach of a confidential relationship is not a cause of action in and of itself. A confidential relationship is an element in establishing a fiduciary relationship or some type of fiduciary duties between the parties as spelled out in a contract or nuptial agreement.

A fiduciary duty arises from a confidential relationship which impels or induces one party to relax the care and vigilance one should ordinarily exercise in dealing with a stranger. Thus, it is unlikely that you could prove fiduciary duty between you and a girlfriend, or a woman you might be living with without a cohabitation agreement between you that specified such a relationship.

The statute of limitations on a breach of fiduciary duty claim is three years from the date the cause of action accrues. Generally actions leading to a breach of fiduciary duty claim must have been taken before the couple files for a divorce. It has also been held that the breach of fiduciary duty must be filed before the dissolution action is commenced and the Colorado Court of Appeals recently (September, 2002) held in Corry v Rizzo that after a couple begin discussing divorce the wife does not owe the husband fiduciary duty. It may be of interest to note that Corry began discussing a divorce after discovering evidence his wife was having an affair.

There can be no serious dispute that a husband and wife are in a fiduciary relationship. Various situations can thus give rise to a breach of that duty. Examples include the undisclosed transmission of a sexual disease; an undisclosed extramarital sexual relationship with another person (including significant others and prostitutes); intentional failure to disclose non-use of birth control pills despite the other person's belief that the pill was taken; and dissipating marital assets without the consent or knowledge of the other party. But it is very unlikely that a man can prevail on such claims.

In Colorado, once the couple has filed for divorce, there is a presumption that the parties no longer have a fiduciary relationship. And at least one Colorado court has held that a claim of breach of fiduciary duty must be filed before filing for divorce and, as noted above, the Colorado Court of Appeals recently held in Corry v Rizzo that after a couple begin discussing divorce the wife does not owe the husband fiduciary duty.

Note that in contrast with the leniency shown women in complying with fiduciary duty, a Pennsylvania attorney, H. Beatty Chadwick, has been held in jail for contempt of court since April, 1995, because it is claimed he has refused to turn over $2.5 million to his former wife. The Federal District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania, Judge Norma L. Shapiro, in June, 1998, refused to order his release. A three-judge panel of the 3 rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in August, 2002, that keeping Chadwick confined indefinitely does not violate the constitution as long as he is able to pay. Chadwick claims the money was lost in bad foreign investments and he can't pay it.

Civil conspiracy

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The elements of a civil conspiracy are: (1) two or more persons; (2) an object to be accomplished; (3) an agreement on the object or course of action; (4) one or more unlawful overt acts; and (5) damages that are a direct result of those acts. Breach of a duty of loyalty satisfies the unlawful act element of a civil conspiracy claim. She may also conspire to have you harmed or killed.

The statute of limitations for civil conspiracy if the unlawful act is a breach of the duty of loyalty may be the three year statute of limitations for breach of fiduciary duty, or it may be the two year general tort statute of limitations.

If the other elements of the claim are met, a spouse who breaches her duty of loyalty by having an extramarital relationship and the cheating partner may be jointly and severally liable for damages caused to the innocent spouse. It is more likely that a man can prevail against a woman's male co-conspirators than against her.

Negligence

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Negligence consists of the failure to observe reasonable standards of care which the circumstances of a particular situation require.

The statute of limitations on negligence claims is two years from the date the cause of action accrues.

As discussed more fully in the sexually transmitted diseases section above, courts recognize a duty to warn or refrain from engaging in sexual activity when a person has a sexually transmitted disease. Other types of negligence claims which may arise during a relationship include automobile accident personal injury claims where one spouse is the driver and the other is a passenger, and premises liability claims.

However, if at any time before the dissolution action is final it can be shown the male became involved with someone else, and if children are involved, it is unlikely a male will prevail on negligence claims.

Defamation

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Prior to and after filing for divorce, an angry spouse may spread vicious rumors about the other spouse. Those statements may be defamatory and actionable. A defamatory publication is a false statement which tends to impeach a person's honesty, integrity, virtue or reputation. Someone telling the truth about you isn't defamation, no matter how they slant the story.

The statute of limitations for defamation is one year from the date the cause of action accrues.

In the context of a dispute between persons who are not public figures, a defamatory per se statement can result in liability to the publishing party, even though no actual damages are proven. A statement is defamatory per se when it imputes to the plaintiff the commission of a crime, the affliction of a loathsome disease or unchastity, or defames the plaintiff in his trade, business or profession. An example might be her calling your boss and telling him you are having an affair with the secretary or the bosses' wife. Of course, if any of this is true now, or in the past, you don't have cause for action against her.

If the defamatory statements are made during the divorce rather than before the divorce action is commenced, they might be subject to a privilege. However, to be privileged the defamatory statements must be involved in and closely connected to the proceedings. Check closely with your attorney on this if you are considering a defamation action because privilege tends to be pretty broadly interpreted, particularly where a woman has said something. The converse will not generally be true, however.

The mixture of defamation claims and divorce actions poses new questions for the Colorado courts to examine. For example, her angry, but false statements to friends and family (prior to the commencement of a divorce) that you are being unfaithful with a number of different partners may be defamatory per se. The same statements made after a divorce may or may not be actionable.

Because Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, an allegation of adultery may still be actionable after the divorce action is filed, since the wife's choice of sexual partners is not likely to be involved in or closely connected to the divorce proceedings. On the other hand, if child custody and parenting-time issues are involved, those statements should be considered closely connected to the proceedings and, hence, privileged.

We regard it as extremely unlikely that a man will prevail on a claim of defamation. In today's society a woman is generally allowed to say anything she cares to about any and all males, and particularly her intimate partner.

Theft

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A woman may take possession of all, or some of your separate property either to protect herself from the possibility of you taking the property, for spite, or for other reasons. Those actions constitute theft. The owner of property taken by theft can bring a civil action against the taker and any person in whose possession he finds the property.

The statute of limitations for a civil theft claim may be two years.

In the civil action, the owner can recover $250.00 or three times the actual damages, whichever is greater. Attorney fees can also be recovered.

You should be aware of theft liability laws, and ask your attorney how to protect yourself from the possibility of the woman taking possession of property. Theft may involve a girlfriend, someone you are living with, a wife, or other female relative, e.g., a sister-in-law.

A common way a woman takes your property is by filing a restraining order claiming domestic violence or abuse, forcing you to vacate the premises and not come near her. She is then free to take what she wants of your property under cover of the order. As possession is nine-tenths of the law you probably cannot do anything until the restraining order is dismissed and you have gone through a trial for domestic violence. Consult closely with your attorney in such situations and let him make the moves to attempt to protect and recover your property.

The likelihood that a man will prevail in such claims in a civil action is small, and the cost of a civil suit so prohibitive that it is generally not worth the bother and expense of bringing such claims unless they are combined with other pleas for relief.

If such theft involves the illicit use of credit cards, particularly by a spouse, it is unlikely that a man has cause for action.

Protection orders, criminal convictions, and collateral estoppel 2

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Collateral estoppel, or issue preclusion, bars relitigation of an issue determined in a prior proceeding if: (1) the issue precluded is identical to an issue actually determined in the prior proceeding; and (2) the party against whom estoppel is asserted has been a party to or in secret with a party in the prior proceeding; and (3) there is a final judgment on the merits in the prior proceeding; and (4) the party against whom the doctrine is asserted has had a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue in the prior proceeding.

Generally, if the restraining orders against you have been made permanent or the domestic violence charges resulted in a guilty, or no contest, verdict, you are effectively precluded from filing a civil action against her no matter how outrageous her conduct. In fact, she could bring civil suit under tort law against you. However, if you prove your innocence then she cannot deny the existence of the charges she made against you.

Nothing in the present law stops her from moving to another jurisdiction and filing domestic abuse restraining orders against you there, however, even if the original orders were dismissed. She need not even make up new accusations against you as the old ones will suffice. In such cases a civil suit against her may be one of your only weapons to curtail her actions against you. However, while a civil suit may possibly deter her from bringing additional charges against you, a man is extremely unlikely to prevail in court on his claims for relief.


 

2. Estoppel is a bar or impediment preventing a party form asserting a fact or a claim inconsistent with a position she previously took, either by conduct or words, especially where a representation has been relied or acted upon by others.

Collateral estoppel occurs whenever there is an identity of parties, an identity of issues, a full and fair opportunity to litigate, and a final order on the matter has been entered.


 

To sue or not to sue?

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Your attorney should make you aware that you have a right to bring tort and contract claims against a woman, distinct from any divorce case claims. Such advice becomes particularly important when negotiating a separation agreement which contains boilerplate "release of all claims" terms.

Before you decide to proceed with a tort case be well aware that the path you are entering will be long and torturous and the outcome virtually certain to be against you. The minimum attorney fees you can expect to pay will be $25,000, and those could easily triple or quadruple. And few attorneys have experience with such cases so you will have to search to find him.

If you have children and have, or want, joint custody, filing a civil suit against the mother will exacerbate existing problems. First, it will add immensely to the emotional distress of your children. Secondly, she will almost certainly make visitation difficult, if not impossible, if she has primary custody. On the other hand, in many cases you probably won't make things any worse, and she may show some semblance of reason when faced with an additional lawsuit.

If you are already locked in a war of attrition with her, then you may want the additional ammunition tort claims can provide.

A civil suit is about the only defense, however weak and ineffective, you have under current (2001) Colorado law against false and malicious accusations. And your actions may encourage other men to fight for their rights to the point where the present feminist persecution of men is set back and eventually stopped.

Word of such suits also acts as a deterrent for other women thinking of using false charges against a man.

We sued (and lost)!

If you do decide to sue

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Our experience in the Colorado courts seeking redress for malicious prosecution, abuse of process, outrageous conduct, and breach of fiduciary duty has given us some insight into the process and likely failures you will encounter. The following points are based on sad experience:

• A law suit is not the best way to settle most domestic problems. However, it is most certainly better to sue than to physically attack or kill your opponent or yourself.

• Clearly define your objectives and goals before filing suit. Be certain your attorney is in agreement with those objectives and goals and feels there is a reasonable chance they can be obtained in a court of law.

• If you are suing purely for revenge, or simply in an attempt to recover monetary damages, it would be better not to start the suit. You must be acting on principle and have the courage and determination to defend your principles in the face of all hardships and setbacks if you are to obtain your objectives.

• It is extremely unlikely you will win in a civil case where a man takes a woman to trial before a judge. As noted elsewhere, a criminal case where a man is tried by a judge is just a long, slow way of pleading guilty. The same principle and politics apply in a civil case. If you sue, specify a jury trial. Otherwise the blatant gender bias of the court will certainly overwhelm you.

• You will need to find a good lawyer familiar with tort cases. Criminal trial lawyers tend not to like tort cases because of the extensive, time-consuming, and boring paperwork involved. So the attorney who saved your bacon in the criminal case is probably not the best one for the civil case. However, he may know someone, or be willing to work with another attorney in pursuing the civil case.

• The suit will cost you three to four times what you originally estimate and take at least a year longer than you anticipate.

• Expect other expenses, e.g, reproduction costs, transcripts, private investigator, etc., to average about one-half your attorney fees. Thus, if your attorney fees are at $70,000 you can reasonably expect other expenses to cost you about $35,000.

• Be prepared to spend whatever time, effort, and money it takes. Don't expect your attorney will do everything for you. He needs your help as much as you need his.

• Before filing suit you will need a list of all the individuals involved and what role they play in the case. Her kids, your kids, judges, attorneys, prosecutor, social services people, private investigators, her new husband or boyfriend, your new relationships, you, her, etc. Keep the summary of each individuals role brief. No more than a sentence or two for each person but be complete. Include their age, address, phone number, e-mail, fax number, Web page, etc. and whatever else you may know about them, e.g., Social Security number. It costs you money if the attorney has to track this information down for you.

• A chronology, or timeline of events is essential. Again, be short and concise. Time, date, and event, with no more than a sentence or two for each event. Again, be complete. An attorney isn't going to be aware of what went on, where, or when if it isn't included in this tabulation. Check the details with any witnesses you may have.

• If you plan to file suit, assemble paper and electronic (if available) copies of all documents, letters, court orders, notes, videos, tape recordings, pleadings, court orders, restraining orders, transcripts, etc., you have that have been filed or that you feel relate to the case to give to the attorney. And the better you have this information organized the easier it will be for an attorney to evaluate the case and the less they will charge you. Ordering such documents chronologically by category is usually a good way to sort them. One or more loose leaf notebooks are usually best because you will need to supplement this information many times. Clearly identify everything. If clarification is needed for a document, include that on a separate sheet or on a Post-It note on the document. Comments written directly on a document might affect its admissibility.

• Be certain your attorney has either deposed or interviewed every potential witness. It is the unanticipated testimony of an witness who was never questioned prior to trial that will hurt you the most.

• You may find the use of such legal software as Case Map and Time Line from CaseSoft useful, if not essential. Keep such databases up-to-date.

• Don't expect cooperation in discovery from either the woman or the courts. Women ignore court orders and rules with impunity in Colorado. But don't stop pushing. By the third or fourth try it becomes apparent even to the court that she is hiding something and not obeying court orders. So if the contested item in discovery is important to your case, keep after it.

• In order to have a chance at winning you must document everything. Record or video tape every meeting and date and time stamp such recordings. Get transcripts of every hearing. Keep every scrap and note and have them organized in a consistent and coherent fashion.

• Be certain that your attorney sends you copies of everything he receives or generates. Read, review, and organize them.

• Get your own copy of the transcripts of all hearings, depositions, or other such documents as the suit proceeds. Read them!

• You are more familiar with the details of your case than your attorney ever can or will be. Review all motions, replies, and other documents with him before they are submitted to the court or opposing counsel. You are legally responsible for what your attorney states or fails to say.

• As the case progresses, periodically review where you are, what evidence you have, what discovery has produced and what is still missing, and what are your objectives. Make a summary occasionally and review it with your lawyer.

• Prepare fallback positions as you will most certainly encounter setbacks.

Be prepared when you go to trial.

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| Chapter 9 — The Male Perspective |

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| Back — Defensive male actions under current law |


 

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Last modified 10/5/14