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Assault and Harassment

Attorney Advocating for Victims in Nashville and Elsewhere in Tennessee

There are many forms of assault and harassment. These include sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, unwelcome sexual contact, intimate partner violence, hazing, stalking, hate crimes or bias-related and racist incidents, and more. If you were a victim of assault or harassment in Tennessee, you may be able to pursue damages in civil court. Civil proceedings are distinct from criminal proceedings, but they can be affected by them. Nashville harassment lawyer Amanda Raye Thornton can protect the rights of victims.

Harassment Claims in Tennessee

Under Tennessee Code section 39-17-308, somebody perpetrates the criminal offense of harassment when the person intentionally threatens by phone, in writing, or by electronic communication to take certain actions that are known to be illegal against someone else, and this conduct knowingly annoys or alarms the target. Alternatively, harassment may be charged when someone illegally places at least one phone call anonymously or at an hour known to be inconvenient and in so doing knowingly alarms or annoys the recipient. In yet another situation, harassment may be charged when someone communicates by phone, knowing that it is false, that the listener’s relative has been taken ill or has been killed or injured.

A judge can order restitution to be paid to victims of a crime as part of a defendant’s sentence. When a plea agreement is reached in a case, an amount of restitution can be set forth in the plea agreement. However, in many cases, restitution is not a sufficient amount to compensate for harassment. A harassment attorney can help Nashville residents pursue further remedies.

Tennessee Code Annotated section 4-21-701 provides that there is a civil cause of action for malicious harassment, and someone can be liable to victims of malicious harassment for special and general damages. In order to bring a civil claim of harassment, you will need to be able to show that the defendant acted maliciously, and also that the defendant illegally intimidated you from the free exercise of a constitutional right by injuring or threatening to injure you, or by coercing someone else, or by destroying, defacing, or damaging another person’s real or personal property.

Under federal law, workplace harassment due to gender or sex under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is illegal and actionable. Many types of misconduct in the workplace may be actionable as sexual harassment. You can file a federal charge of sexual harassment with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which administers and enforces Title VII. A Nashville harassment attorney also can help an employee pursue remedies under state law.

Civil Assault

Civil assault occurs when somebody intentionally puts another person in apprehension or fear of physical contact. If you were a victim of assault, you may be able to sue the person who assaulted you to obtain compensation for harm arising out of the episode. For example, if somebody purposefully hits you with their car, you may have a claim for assault, or if somebody hits you in a bar and causes you to break your jaw, you may have a claim for assault.

In Tennessee, an actionable assault occurs whenever somebody tends to cause a corporal injury to someone else, and there are circumstances that display an intent and capacity to use real violence against the other person. A defendant will not be accountable for an assault unless there is an intentional act that causes fear of physical harm. An insult alone is not enough, even if the insult is abusive and offensive. There needs to be a clear physical movement or act that causes the plaintiff to reasonably think that they are in imminent physical danger.

If someone assaults you in the course and scope of their employment, you may be able to hold the perpetrator’s employer directly liable for negligent hiring or vicariously (indirectly) liable for the damages arising out of the assault. In many instances, an employer has greater resources to pay a damages award than does the individual who committed the assault, so this potential source of compensation can be important.

Consult an Experienced Harassment Lawyer in the Nashville Area

If you believe that you may have been a victim of assault or harassment, you should consult Amanda Raye Thornton. She represents people throughout Tennessee, including in Davidson, Williamson, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Robertson, Rutherford, Sumner, Warren, and Wilson Counties. Call us at (615) 485-1584 or (615) 470-2222, or you can reach us via our online form.

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