Here's an unusual case for you.
The Appellate Term, 2nd and 11th Judicial Districts, recently examined a lawsuit where the plaintiff sought damages for "harassment," "defamation," "malicious prosecution," and, "[w]asting time and mak[ing] me sick." The Queens County Civil Court dismissed these claims since the plaintiff's pleading failed to state a legally cognizable basis upon which relief could be granted. And, on appeal, the appellate court affirmed that outcome.
First and foremost, New York State does not recognize a civil claim based on "harassment," except in the case of a regulated tenant (and, apparently, this litigation did not involve a rent-regulated apartment).*
A claim predicated on "defamation," typically defined as words which wrongfully impugn an individual's honesty, integrity, sanity, or the like, requires that the offending language be included in a party's pleading. And, in the absence of that recitation, a case "must" be dismissed. (Of course, this plaintiff failed to provide the pertinent quotes in his complaint.)**
"Malicious prosecution," on the other hand, generally applies when an action or proceeding was started by a party against you, was decided in your favor, there was no justifiable basis to bring the case, and, you were damaged as a result of the wrongful conduct. In this instance, since the plaintiff did not establish that a prior lawsuit had been commenced and adjudicated in his favor, that particular aspect of the dispute could not survive.
Finally, since existing law does not recognize a recovery for someone "wasting your time and making you sick," that final component of the litigation was also denied resurrection.
Just think how much richer we'd all be if the law permitted us to sue whenever someone wasted our time or made us sick. (Don't know about you, but I'd be a trillionaire.)
For a copy of the Appellate Term's decision in Gabara v. Bodajlo, please click the following link: http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2006/2006_52554.htm
*To view a prior blog post on "harassment," please click the following link: http://www.nyrealestatelawblog.com/2006/06/dont_harass_me.html#000037
**To view our other blog posts on "defamation," please click the following link: http://www.nyrealestatelawblog.com/search/mt-search.cgi?IncludeBlogs=4&search=defamation