Can you take someone to small claims court for emotional distress?

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Can you take someone to small claims court for emotional distress?

I’ve had a long distance relationship with a man out of state for 3 years. He gave me an ultimatum to move to AZ with him (I lived in FL) and I did. Come find out he’s still married and has left where we both live to go back to his family and now I have nowhere to go. He gave me a ring and asked me to marry him over a year ago. I’m now stuck with no job, no car and no where to live. He will not help me and knew that I gave up everything I had to come be with him. I’m emotionally distressed and in shock that someone could do this.

Asked on April 28, 2011 under Personal Injury, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot sue for emotional distress in small claims court, only for physical or monetary losses (e.g. damage to a car; breach of contract). You'd have to sue in municipal, county, or state court.

Also, be aware that it is *very* difficult to make out a claim for emotional distress. First, the infliction of the distress must generally be intentional--that is, an intention to hurt you, not to merely lie to you in some other way. Second, if it is unreasonable that you believed him or were hurt, you may not be able to recover. It's also a complex claim to make and prove, so if you want to pursue this, you should consult with an attorney--just be prepared that you may not be able to actually recover any money. There are wrongs that the court system does not right.


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