When I filed for divorce, my husband illegally accessed my computer and stole a personal diary document (court-acknowledged as stolen) which caused my kids to be taken away and a restraining order issued against me. I defended myself in family court and Child Services. Both were found in my favor and he now has a restraining order. He showed the stolen letter to my professional network. Do I have a lawsuit for emotional damages and loss of income-network? How was I going to find a job after what he did? Do I have a lawsuit “causation”?


You can sue your husband for emotional damages and loss of income-network provided that ‘causation’ is established between his act and the resulting injury. “Causation” is an essential element of a tort action. Defendants are not liable unless their conduct (i.e.,act or omission constituting a breach of duty to plaintiff) was a “legal cause” of plaintiff’s injury [2:2375] . Legal causation is generally a question of fact to be determined by the jury … unless, as a matter of law, the facts admit of only one conclusion [2:2376]. Causation is a question of reasonable probability; “legal cause” need not be proved with certainty, but mere possibility is insufficient to establish a prima facie case. Thus, the issue is whether it is more likely than not that plaintiff’s injury was a result of defendant’s act or omission. [2:2405]. “Clearly, where a defendant’s negligence is a concurring cause of an injury, the law regards it as a legal cause of the injury, regardless of the extent to which it contributes to the injury.” [Espinosa v. Little Co. of Mary Hosp. (1995) 31 CA4th 1304, 1317–1318, 37 CR2d 541, 549] [2:2406].

Moreover, in your present case, you may claim for damages on the ground of pain and suffering as a result of the incident. “Pain and suffering” is a unitary concept, encompassing all the physical discomfort and emotional trauma occasioned by an injury. Plaintiff is entitled to compensatory damages for all physical pain suffered … and also for all resulting “fright, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, mortification, shock, humiliation, indignity, embarrassment, apprehension, terror or ordeal.” [ Capelouto v. Kaiser Found. Hosps. (1972) 7 C3d 889, 892–893, 103 CR 856, 859;] [3:141]. It would be best to seek personal assistance from a lawyer to guide you with the procedure for filing a personal injury claim, and also to give you advice as to the possible ways of obtaining gainful employment notwithstanding such incident.

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