Procedures Applicable to a Plaintiff in a Protection Case - Who Can Sue

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A. Who Can Sue. In a case based on abuse by a family or household member or dating partner, or on stalking or sexual assault, as defined in this booklet, the following persons may sue:

  • An adult on his/her own behalf;
  • An adult on behalf of a minor child for whom that adult is responsible;
  • An emancipated minor;
  • An incompetent person, represented by a guardian

In a case based on harassment, as defined in this booklet, the following persons or entities may sue:

An adult on his/her own behalf;

A minor, if represented by an adult,

An emancipated minor,

An incompetent person, represented by a guardian, or

A business.

Before filing a court complaint seeking a protection from harassment order, many plaintiffs must show that law enforcement has already issued a notice to the defendant to stop harassing the plaintiff. (The statute giving law enforcement the power to issue these notices is section 506-A of Title 17-A. To prove that this requirement is met, the plaintiff must file a copy of the law enforcement notice with the protection from harassment complaint.

Two exceptions exist. The plaintiff is not required to file a copy of a law enforcement cease-harassment notice if

  1. the plaintiff can show "good cause" for not seeking or obtaining such a notice from law enforcement; or
  2. the plaintiff is claiming that the defendant "harassed" plaintiff by engaging in a single act or course of conduct that qualifies as a violation of one of the criminal statues mentioned in the "harassment" definition (these include: violation of constitutional rights, murder, felony murder, manslaughter, aiding or soliciting suicide, assault, aggravated assault, criminal threatening, terrorizing, stalking, reckless conduct, gross sexual assault, kidnapping, criminal restraint, criminal restraint by parent, harassment as defined in 17-A M.R.S. § 506-A, violation of privacy, incest, arson, aggravated criminal mischief, or criminal mischief).

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