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Personal Financing >> Identity Theft & Credit Fraud >> Identity theft, internet, state/federal courts

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Discussion: Identity theft, internet, state/federal courts-
#168, posted 5 Jan 2022 8:21 pm621 words
neallaw (Offline)

Joined 5 Jan 2022 8:18 pm

1 post

We are an Iowa family who, for the last several years, has been subjected to a campaign of harassment that has included defamation, intrusions on our privacy, and even sexual smears against our teenage daughter. Hundreds of offensive posts have been made on an anonymous website by a handful of disturbed individuals who are trying to interfere with a project I am involved in. In addition, they have bragged about "harvesting" my emails, posted personal medical info on the web (which is inaccurate), spammed our website with ****o links, violated copyright, been guilty of tortious interference, and even tried to masquerade as us and score a hostile intrusion into our server (for which we have third party documentation).

Ultimately, when one of them sent a death threat to our home, (and also committed identity theft), U.S. postal inspectors and law enforcement became involved. The ISP that had hosted the smear site voluntarily surrendered the IP posting log even without a subpoena and shut the site down (because there was prima facie evidence of a crime and their terms of service had been violated). It turns out the most flagrant poster is a man who works for an educational institution in Tennessee and was using state-owned computers while at work to carry out his harassment of our family. He denied to his employer that he made those posts, and they have pretended to believe him, no doubt because to do otherwise would be to concede legal liability. Incredibly, the IP addresses of hundreds of the offensive posts on the old trash site are identical to the posts he has made on another website to which he has brazenly signed his name!

We have three potential lawsuits here, the first of which will be against the man from Tennessee and his employer, which has essentially stonewalled. An attorney who is a long-time family friend, who has written books on the law, has even practiced international law, and has gotten two of the largest damage awards in U.S. history in the 1980s, wants to file this case for us in Federal Court. Even though the fees and costs are fairly steep, he will take it on a contingency fee basis, and is convinced that when the educational institution sees during pre-trial discovery the evidence we have amassed of their employee's guilt, they will rush to make a quick settlement, cut their losses, and throw their crazy employee to the wolves. Fortunately, even some of the people in whom this man has confided have come forward to disclose to us some of his private emails to them and other of his actions which establish clear malice.

We also have two other lawsuits involving other individuals we can file.

Meanwhile, there is a family law advocacy group on a national level which has developed a sudden interest in the Tennessee case because they feel it is in some respects landmark as it pertains to using the internet to harrass people. They have offered to take on the prosecution of it FOR FREE. The only problem is they want to keep it in Tennessee and hence in a different court where the potential dollar amount we could recover would not be as great as federal court.

We are confused about knowing what to do. Two sets of lawyers have looked at this case and seen big bucks. The question I have is: what would be better in the long run: A case filed in federal court (which would require the defendants to leave their home turf to defend themselves), or a trial in Tennessee (which would also generate the attendant publicity and expose this school employee for the depraved individual he is...someone STILL on the public payroll)?

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