Procedures Applicable to a Plaintiff in a Protection Case - Who Can Be Sued

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B. Who Can Be Sued. The following types of individuals may be defendants in an abuse or harassment case:

  • An adult or emancipated minor;
  • An unemancipated minor, if represented by an adult parent or guardian;
  • An incompetent person, represented by a guardian

Relationship Requirements: Protection from Abuse Cases To bring an abuse case, the defendant (who you are suing) must be related to you in one of the following ways:

  1. Sexual abuse or stalking: If the allegations include sexual assault or stalking, no other relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant is required.
  2. Elder/Dependent/Incapacitated Adult Victim: If the plaintiff (victim of "abuse") is 60 years of age or older or a dependent adult or an incapacitated adult and the defendant is an extended family member* or unpaid care provider** then a complaint for protection from abuse can be filed by the adult victim, the legal guardian of the adult victim, or a representative of DHHS.
    • An "extended family member" includes, but is not limited to: a person who is related to the plaintiff by blood, marriage, or adoption, whether or not the person has ever resided with the plaintiff
    • An "unpaid care provider" includes, but is not limited to: a caretaker who voluntarily provides full, intermittent, or occasional personal care to the plaintiff in the plaintiff's home similar to the ways a family member would provide care.
  3. In all other cases, the plaintiff (victim of "abuse") and defendant must have one of the following relationships with each other:
    • Plaintiff and defendant are current or former spouses
    • Plaintiff and defendant are current or former domestic partners (domestic partners are 2 unmarried adults who are living together under long-term arrangements that evidence a commitment to remain responsible indefinitely for each other's welfare)
    • Plaintiff and defendant are current or former sexual partners
    • Plaintiff and defendant are current or former dating partners (dating partners are people currently or formerly dating each other regardless of whether or not they are or were sexual partners)
    • Defendant is the biological father or mother of plaintiff's child
    • Plaintiff and defendant live together now or have lived together in the past
    • Plaintiff and defendant are living together and related to each other by blood or marriage
    • Plaintiff is a child in the care or custody of any household member and the defendant is an adult household member
    • Plaintiff is a child in the care or custody of a person who is the dating partner of the defendant

Relationship Requirements: Protection from Harassment Cases
For Protection from Harassment, no special relationship between the plaintiff and defendant is required.

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