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UK private citizen litigating against US Private citizen

Discussion in 'Civil Court, Procedure & Litigation' started by Sosome, Aug 24, 2022.

  1. Sosome

    Sosome Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
    Pennsylvania
    UK law, no problem understanding. But this is cross border.

    I am seeking to litigate against a Pennsylvanian individual for personal injury. I have what we'd call in the UK both quantifiable and non quantifiable losses.

    The injury is severe emotional distress and psychological injury.

    The injury occurred over the internet; sexual exploitation by mistepresentation. I have evidence and can trace it all back to this individual. The evidence I have is high standard.

    As a foriegn citizen, how would I go about this? In the UK, we'd simply file a claim ourselves in small claims and the defendant would recieve notification and be invited to respond to the complaint and/or submit a counter claim.

    I would like to claim bills for therapy but more than anything I want to deter the perpetrator from ever doing this to someone else. Also, not their first rodeo. The individual has conned people before and will continue until they are hit where it hurts - in the wallet.
     
  2. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    First question: what message service or internet forum did you and the U.S. person use to communicate? And second, who first initiated contact?

    If the terms of the service you used require the two of you to resolve this through arbitration, then that is the route you'll have to go.

    Otherwise, you are likely to have to litigate this in PA courts. If the case is small enough it can be done in PA small claims proceedings which are held in magistrates' court. In the U.S. suing solely for emotional distress is not easy; you'd have a little easier time including the medical bills for therapy for this as that provides provable damages. Note that you'd need to pay a process server to serve him with the summons and complaint and to file the documents with the court for you. Those fees you can add to your claim. But you cannot add to your claim your time spend on the case nor your travel expenses to come to the U.S. to present your case at the hearing, assuming you don't settle with the person first.
     
  3. Sosome

    Sosome Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for your swift response, which is incredibly helpful.

    It was a social media platform that the communication took place through, and the person I wish to litigate against initiated contact, pursued, manipulated and exploited under a fictitious entity. I have paid for therapy so can prove that particular loss.

    I think once it becomes clear what overwhelming evidence I have that this is the person responsible, and there has been quantifiable loss which I am seeking restoration for, the person will settle.

    Do I just fill in a small claims form and wait to hear from the court before I can instruct a process server?
     
  4. Sosome

    Sosome Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Also, sorry to be a pest... in the UK we would ordinarily issue a 'letter before action', outlining our case, the evidence we have and the outcome we are seeking, giving the defendant an initial opportunity to settle without the need to go to court. Is this a thing in the US? Courts here like it because it shows we've attempted to resolve the issue without involving the courts. We'd send the letter to be signed for upon delivery and give the defendant 28 days to respond from delivery
     
  5. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    You won't be able to sue the person in the UK.
    The person knows you'll have to travel to the US to sue him...and he knows you're not going to do that.
    Move on.
     
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  6. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    So, you never had sex with this person, never even met this person face to face (body to body).

    Did you send this person money?

    If not, then what happened? Did you get your feelings hurt when it didn't go the way you thought it would go?

    Frankly, I don't think a lawsuit under any circumstances would be successful. I suggest you just get over it and move on.
     
  7. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Stay off social media and these things won't happen to you. My guess is that you were naive and gullible and an easy mark for Prince or Princess Charming.

    Paying for therapy doesn't prove anything. Your therapist will have to testify in court as to his/her professional standing and expertise and testify that you became a medicated basket case because of the experience.

    Small claims in Pennsylvania are handled by Magistrate courts in the county where the Defendant resides.

    You locate the appropriated Magistrate court and you are likely to find forms and instructions on its website.
     
  8. Sosome

    Sosome Law Topic Starter New Member

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    1. I am perfectly willing to travel to the US to see through the litigation
    2. Couldn't be more wrong. And I'm happy to explain what happened. I am acting on the behalf of the injured party. This person is vulnerable, they were pursued relentlessly by a con artist who manipulated them, alienated them from loved ones over a prolonged period of time and finally exploited them sexually with the intention of using inappropriate pictures as extortion. You or I would easily see the red flags, not so easy for a vulnerable person. Changes in their behaviour alerted me and the victim eventually confided what was going on. I knew straight off it was a con and I traced the perpetrator. It took a mountain of evidence to convince the victim that the person they were communicating with didn't exist and was actually a con artist very far removed from the character he thought he was communicating with. I now have power of attorney for this person, whose mental wellbeing has declined significantly since discovering they were conned and they type of person who still has their pictures. As if that wasn't enough, the perpetrator tried to have another crack at them. If this happened to any other vulnerable person such as a child, it would be termed grooming and the perpetrator would be subject to criminal proceedings. They are trying to 'get over it' by undertaking intensive therapy.

    But thanks for your input. I'll be sure to tell the victim to 'get over it' the next time they're found standing on the local bridge ready to jump.
     
  9. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    YOU cannot represent the "injured party" in ANY legal matter, as you are not an attorney.
     
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  10. Sosome

    Sosome Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Powers of attorney cannot provide legal representation but they can take litigate or instruct an attorney on the grantors behalf. It is stated within the paperwork signed by his solicitor and issued by the office of the public guardian that I have this undertaking.
     
  11. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Oh wow, this gets better and better.

    You're not the victim. Should have revealed that at the getgo.

    The victim will have to hire an attorney in Pennsylvania to represent him. The attorney will want to interview the victim after reviewing whatever information you provide. The attorney WILL NOT discuss the case with you unless the victim waives attorney-client privilege. The victim will have to appear in court to testify. The defendant has a right to cross-examine the victim, perhaps even have the victim sit for a deposition before trial.

    Again, the victim's therapist will have to testify in court if the victim is seeking damages for emotional distress.

    Pennsylvania's small claims limit is $10,000.

    I'm guessing you are imagining more money than that so the case will be litigated in regular court under very rigorous legal procedures. Your POA, UK solicitor and public guardian won't mean a thing in an American court. If you intend to testify as a witness, you may even be excluded from the courtroom until your turn comes.

    Your victim's American attorney will want a large retainer against an hourly rate of $300 to $400. My guess, several thousand up front.
     
  12. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    ASSuming the ALLEGED victim is able to hire an attorney, even if he/she/it/they possess the ability to offer an attorney a large retainer.

    To quantify the size of such a retainer, I'd speculate it would start around the $50,000 to $100,000 range.
     
  13. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Not in the US
     
  14. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Please don't allow yourself to be bamboozled, scammed, beguiled, deceived, or tricked by any unknown internet entities, many of whom are most often "bots" or a personna created by an evil critter to effect the transfer of your money into the greedy, sweaty, filthy, furry paws of an evil crook.

    There is a powerful two letter word in the English language that you can use to preserve your loot.

    The word is NO.

    The moment the critter starts yapping about needing money, begging you to show it your love by giving it your money, you simply say, NO.

    No need to explain, as NO is easily understood by illiterate, anonymous, internet scammers.

    Once you've said NO, delete your profile immediately.

    Don't allow yourself to be catfished or scammed.

    Don't listen to anyone's sob story.

    Once the critter begins to sob, DISAPPEAR yourself.

    Better yet for your safety, don't involve yourself with unknown entities by frequenting internet scam sites!!!
     
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  15. stealthy1

    stealthy1 Active Member

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    Is your friend? How about the therapist (who will expect to be paid for their time, travel, and accommodations)? Do you understand that this may require multiple trips?
     
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  16. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Which I may add, are not recoverable.
     
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  17. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    What OP doesn't realize is that, in the US, there is a well-armed lawyer behind every tree and OP is wearing a bright red coat.

    (Humorous, but not subtle, reference to our War for Independence.)
     

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