ALEXANDRIA, Va.-LAWFUEL – Lawsuit News -Attorneys DiMuro Ginsberg today announced that the civil lawsuit filed against John Grisham, Alan Swanson and Donna Swanson for intentional infliction of emotional distress on their client, Katharine Almy, will proceed despite numerous delay tactics on the part of defendants.
Today, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled in favor of Ms. Almy’s appeal, reversing the decision made by the Circuit Court of Albemarle County to sustain the demurrers filed by attorneys for Mr. Grisham and the Swansons on the claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
In its opinion, the Supreme Court of Virginia stated, “We hold that reasonable persons could view the conduct alleged, if proved, as being ‘so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.’” The Supreme Court added, “Almy’s motion for judgment sufficiently alleges emotional distress ‘so severe that no reasonable person could be expected to endure it.’”
According to documents filed in the case, beginning in 1996 and continuing through 1998, Donna Swanson received several anonymous, hand-written letters that made various accusations, including allegations of marital infidelity on the part of Alan Swanson, Ms. Swanson’s husband. In 1998, Mr. Grisham also received an anonymous, hand-written letter. Grisham and the Swansons decided together that they should determine the source of the anonymous letters, incorrectly suspecting that Ms. Almy was the author.
What followed, according to DiMuro Ginsberg, were a series of alleged blunders that began with retaining handwriting analysts whose work has since been discredited in the high profile Jon-Benet Ramsey case – extended to include personal privacy invasions by obtaining samples of Ms. Almy’s handwriting from her children’s files at St. Anne’s-Belfield School in Charlottesville, VA without the permission of the school or Ms. Almy’s knowledge – an intimidating visit by local police – and a refusal as circumstances played out by Mr. Grisham or the Swansons to publicly apologize for false allegations they were never able to substantiate that inflicted severe emotional distress on Ms. Almy.
“When the circumstances circumstances of Mr. Grisham’s and the Swansons’ false allegations and baseless actions came to light, I was just devastated,” said Katharine Almy. “Charlottesville, Virginia is a small town, and my family has been contributing members of this community for generations. Mr. Grisham’s and the Swansons’ refusal to publicly apologize has left me with no other recourse to clear my name in this community than the courts.”
“In a story that could have come directly out of one of Mr. Grisham’s novels, Ms. Almy became the victim and wrongful target of a Barney Fife-style investigation instigated by Mr. Grisham and the Swansons that tarnished her reputation in the community while inflicting severe emotional distress,” said Ben DiMuro, Managing Partner of DiMuro Ginsberg. “We look forward to bringing the case to trial, and are confident that a jury will agree that Mr. Grisham’s and the Swansons’ conduct was completely outrageous and they should be held accountable for their actions.”