CAN I SUE A NEIGHBOR FOR FILING FALSE STATEMENTS AT PEACE ORDER HEARING?

My neighbor submitted charges against me for trespassing and stalking their two kids. The peace order was denied. On his petition to the court, he stated I was stalking his kids, but during court proceedings he did not mention it. Can I sue him for making false claims against me?

ANSWER

False statements causing harm to another is considered libel or slander. You could file a tort action for libel or slander; however, those claims are incredibly difficult to prove. You would have to prove that you were actually harmed by your neighbor’s false statements. Some examples of actual harm are loss of a job, loss of a specific contract, etc. You would have to be able to show that your harm was directly caused by your neighbor’s false statements. Prior to filing a lawsuit, you should consult with an attorney to discuss the likelihood of success.
If you are able to prove that a person knowingly lied under oath, you could pursue criminal charges for perjury. However, this would also be incredibly difficult to prove.
Additionally, if you are going to be living near this person for years to come you should also consider the future of the relationship. Filing civil lawsuits and/or criminal charges will likely add fuel to the fire and continue this feud. If the Peace Order was denied, you should consult an attorney and file a request to have the Peace Order shielded from public view. By statute, the Court is required to hold a hearing prior to shielding a peace or protective order. However, if you complete the proper paperwork, appear at the hearing, and there are no additional criminal charges or peace orders against you then, it is likely that the denied peace order would be shielded from public view. Shielding the peace order would prevent future employers from being able to see that a peace order was filed against you, which will provide more protection for your reputation going forward.