What to do if we have a neighbor who has been harassing us since we moved in?

UPDATED: May 27, 2014

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What to do if we have a neighbor who has been harassing us since we moved in?

She has told all our neighbors, friends and landlord that we are animal abusers. She has called the Humane Society on us and constantly yells at my wife and our children which are 5 and 3. When the Humane Society came out to check on the conditions of our dog, they laughed because everything that she told them was untrue. They said the dog looked great and that they would let the neighbor know that there is no abuse taking place. Not even close. Our dog wears a correctional collar and barked today when he was corrected for leaving the yard, and she came to the edge of the yard and yelled at my wife and kids, calling them an expletive.

Asked on May 27, 2014 under Personal Injury, Hawaii


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You and your wife can file a lawsuit against the neighbor for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Defamation is a false statement made with knowledge of its falsity communicated to a third party, who recognizes the defamatory content and the statement is injurious to your reputation.  The statement that you are an animal abuser is defamatory.  Each time the neighbor makes that statement is actionable as a separate claim for defamation in your lawsuit.

Intentional infliction of emotional distress is an extreme and outrageous act intended to cause and which does cause you emotional distress.  This would apply to the harassment by the neighbor including yelling at your wife and kids, etc.

Slander is spoken defamation.  Libel is written defamation.

Defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress are separate causes of action (claims) in your lawsuit.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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