Harrison, NJ asked in Civil Litigation, Civil Rights and Landlord - Tenant for New Jersey

Q: Way to sue roommate for causing me mental trauma and trying to discourage me to find a replacement

I have been dealing with a cunning roommate. Since last 1 year, he had been making noise and partying once or twice a week ruining my sleep. When i confronted him, he blamed me equally for keeping silent for so long. I couldn't really stay peacefully once I confronted him.

I decided to get out after finding a replacement. But I think he had been slyly discouraging people who I brought to apartment to not take my place. For example, he brought in the topic of meat cooking that he is not comfortable with it. For another person he mentioned her that he has plans to buy a new house so she decided not to opt in as she was looking for long term. For another, he behaved in a bossy and acted like owner of the apartment that forced her to get out. Then he tried to discourage the other person too but he finally signed the lease and i got out.

Now i feel like i have to pay him back for all he did to me. Is there a way to sue him?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Suing a roommate for mental trauma and actions that discouraged potential replacements for your tenancy can be complex and challenging. In legal terms, to pursue a lawsuit for emotional distress, you would need to demonstrate that the roommate's actions were intentional or reckless, caused you significant emotional distress, and that the distress was severe. Proving these elements can be difficult, as emotional distress is subjective and the legal threshold for what constitutes "severe" distress is high.

When it comes to discouraging potential replacements, unless you had a formal agreement with your roommate regarding finding a replacement, proving damages may be complicated. The actions described, such as discussing meat cooking preferences or indicating plans to buy a house, might not rise to the level of legal wrongdoing. They could be seen as personal preferences or plans being shared with potential roommates, which is not inherently illegal.

Before considering legal action, it might be worthwhile to explore alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation. Mediation can provide a platform to address and resolve conflicts without the need for a lawsuit. However, if you firmly believe your situation merits legal action, consulting with a lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case would be the next step. They can offer guidance on the feasibility of your case and advise on potential legal strategies based on the facts and evidence you provide.

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