Can I Sue My Neighbor to Obtain Attorney Fees?

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

Our next door neighbor keeps calling the police to say our dogs are barking. This went on for a year and a half, but when the police patrolled the area in response to her calls, they heard nothing (because our dogs weren’t barking) and issued no citations. The neighbor then went to a city council meeting with her complaint, and we received a citation from the city based solely on the neighbor’s word, despite two different police officers saying they had not heard our dogs barking. We went to court to fight the citation, where the magistrate dismissed it in our favor. My question is, can we bring a civil suit against the neighbor for our lawyer’s fees, time off from work, emotional distress, etc.?

In order to obtain attorney fees, you will have to research your state law to see on what grounds attorney fees are awarded in civil matters unique to your situation. In regard to suing for time off work and emotional distress, you will have to determine what monetary value (damages) was incurred to you expense regarding litigating the matter. There are several elements that you will have to prove under an emotional distress claim. It is best to consult with a torts attorney to discuss the matter in more detail. Depending on the amount of your damages, you may be able to file a small claims action against the party.