Diving into the Shallow End: What It Takes to Disprove and Recover Damages for a Restraining Order Based on Fraud

Posted on January 19, 2014


Many restraining order recipients are brought to this site wondering how to recover damages for false allegations and the torments and losses that result from them. Not only is perjury (lying to the court) never prosecuted; it’s never explicitly acknowledged. The question arises whether false accusers ever get their just deserts.

It turns out it does happen sometimes. Or has at least once. Kinda.

A news story I came across the other day exemplifies how extreme false allegations must be, how vigorously they must be confuted, and how prominently their victim must stand out from the crowd for a judge to sit up and take notice.

The story concerned a woman’s being ordered to pay her former boyfriend over $55,000 after she “falsely accused him of raping and brutalizing her…during a child-custody dispute.” She had applied for a permanent restraining order against him alleging that he “perpetrated a horrific physical attack.” Her specific allegations to the police and court were that he “knocked her unconscious,” “dragged her in the house,” “sexually assaulted her,” and “burned her with matches and committed other violence.”

The boyfriend was arrested and held without bail for three months before a judge dismissed the charges. To regain his liberty, the man had to hire (besides an attorney, of course) a private investigator, who turned up “10 witnesses who were ready to testify that they saw [him] in other locations at the time of the alleged attack.”

According to his lawyer, he would otherwise have “faced the possibility of five life sentences in prison as a result of [his girlfriend’s] criminal complaint.” The money he was awarded was for legal and travel expenses. Although the lawyer informed the district attorney’s office that she had evidence the girlfriend had committed perjury, the woman wasn’t prosecuted. She had accused her boyfriend of breaking her shoulder during his alleged assault, but, the lawyer said, “her medical records reveal that she broke her shoulder diving into the shallow end of a swimming pool.”

The news story goes on to report that the boyfriend was pursuing a malicious prosecution lawsuit against his accuser, with whom he shares a son, alleging false imprisonment, abuse of process, and infliction of emotional distress.

While the recognition this man received for his suffering may surprise readers who’ve also been victimized by false allegations only to be subjected to further ridicule and disparagement from the court for resisting a bum rap, the fact that this rare recipient of quasi-justice is the senior vice president of a bank won’t be surprising at all.

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