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;
  • A minor, if represented by an adult parent or guardian; or
  • An incompetent person, represented by a guardian
  1. 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 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 and the defendant must have one of the following relationships with each other:
    • The plaintiff and the defendant are current or former spouses;
    • The plaintiff and the defendant are current or former sexual partners or dating partners;
    • The defendant is the biological father or mother of the plaintiff's child;
    • The plaintiff and the defendant live together now or have lived together in the past; or
    • The plaintiff is a minor child of any household member and the defendant is an adult household member.
  1. Relationship Requirements: Protection from Harassment Cases
    To bring a harassment case, no special relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant is required.

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