Independence, MO asked in Civil Litigation, Criminal Law, Family Law and Libel & Slander for Missouri

Q: Should this be small claims, which state to file if so?

I will do my best to keep this brief yet concise. I have primary residential custody of 4 children who were the product of a previous marriage. I remarried and we live in Jackson County MO.The divorce and custody agreement were filed in Leavenworth County KS. There is an open child abuse investigation naming the defendant( The father and resident of LW county). The case is with the county prosecutor’s office, there are multiple claims, documented by forensic medical staff and the LV county sheriff. The defendant has a significant other ( not married, nor do they cohabitate) who has posted multiple libelous statements on social media, specifically naming myself and my spouse. One such instance coincides with the dates where one of our children was being treated for their injuries at Children’s Mercy. I have documentation to corroborate these statements. As far as the libelous statements made by the S.O., small claims or circuit court via atty? Can we file this separate case in JACO?

1 Lawyer Answer
Ronald J. Eisenberg
PREMIUM
Ronald J. Eisenberg
Answered
  • Chesterfield, MO
  • Licensed in Missouri

A: It’s unclear what relief you seek. Small claims court is only for money damages. Okay you seek injunctive relief, such as an order into remove the defamatory statements, you cannot get such relief in small claims court.

Whether you hire an attorney to sue will depend largely on whether you are willing and able to spend a lot of money on the matter. In addition, you’ve stated that the statements a libelous but an attorney would need to assess whether they are objectively false statements, as opposed to subjective statements. Even if the statements are objectively false, actual damages is an essential element of a defamation claim in Missouri. Did someone read the social media posting, believe it, and stop doing business with you? That is one example of actual damages.

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