All You Need to Know About a Cease and Desist Letter
Whether you are sending or receiving, a cease and desist letter can be stressful in a divorce. Contact an attorney from Mullen Law Firm, LLC for your next move.
What Is a Cease and Desist Letter?
Are you the victim of a continuous illegal action by another? Perhaps your property is continuously being trespassed upon or polluted by your neighbors, or perhaps you have been a victim of bullying, defamation, or even stalking from a previous partner. It could even be that your intellectual property rights have been infringed upon. In such an instance your first instinct might be to pursue legal action under state and federal law.
Even though filing a lawsuit immediately isn’t a bad idea, consider first sending a cease and desist letter to the offender.
A cease and desist letter is a formal notice written to the offender. It contains details of their offending actions and cautions them to discontinue those actions or face legal action in court. It is usually the first step in solving a dispute and in many cases, it ends the dispute for good without you having to resort to litigation. However, it is not equivalent to a cease and desist order which is usually issued by a court or government agency.
How a Cease and Desist Letter Works
Generally, a cease and desist letter is not a prerequisite for instituting court action to stop the harmful behavior of another toward you. Rather it operates in the same way as a demand letter or debt collection letter.
However, it is a good way to build evidence in case you eventually do institute legal action against the offending party. It can demonstrate that the recipient is aware of the wrongfulness of their actions yet continues to perform them nevertheless. Thus, it serves its purpose as a warning but does not carry the same weight as an official order from a court or a government agency.
Beginning your case with a cease and desist letter would be highly beneficial since litigation can be costly and time-consuming for both parties. It is a good way to get practical and immediate results all things being equal. You may be able to recover more financial damages if you use these letters first rather than immediate legal proceedings.
The Legal Status of a Cease and Desist Letter
Even though cease and desist letters imply that the sender can take legal action if the sender does not receive a response, it is not yet a lawsuit. The letter serves more of a warning function. It could be a reminder of obligations under a court order, a threat of legal action, or a request for additional information concerning a possible law infringement.
Whether delivered in person or in the mail, a cease and desist letter does not mandate a response. It is not a court summons or complaint, even if it requests or instructs the recipient to take a specific action.
If you have received a cease and desist letter, no judicial ruling or law compels you to comply with the demands of the letter. If you are in the wrong, you may want to comply to avoid the rigors of litigation and lengthy court proceedings.
How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter
You can utilize a stock template for your cease and desist letter. However, the letter will be more effective if you write in light of the particular facts and legal rights surrounding your case. Standard components of a good cease and desist letter include:
- Your identity/contact information.
- Details of the harmful act and whether it is ongoing.
- Identity of the wrongdoer/recipient and delivery address.
- A plea to refrain from doing or continuing the illegal act.
- The threat of legal action if the harmful act continues.
The goal is to make the recipient of the letter apprehensive which would motivate them to do the right thing. To achieve this, consider including relevant laws that show the possible legal consequences if the act continues. You will inadvertently make the cease and desist letter enforceable by showing the person causing you trouble that you take the situation seriously.
The easiest way to be certain that your letter hits the mark and does what it ought to do is by seeking the professional help of an experienced cease and desist attorney who would ensure that the letter is properly worded and contains the right information.
Delivering a Cease and Desist Letter
The location of the recipient determines the most appropriate method of delivery. You can deliver the letter via mail, email, an attorney, or by yourself.
Sending a letter via certified mail will confirm that it was sent and received if you cannot personally deliver the letter.
A simple email can be enough to gain an immediate reaction from the offender in cases where time is essential, such as in cases of defamation. In such an instance, a defamation lawyer might also be able to determine the approach that is most suitable for your case.
How to Respond to a Cease and Desist Letter
If you have received a cease and desist letter there are several options open to you. You could ignore the letter, although this course of action might not be beneficial. Alternatively, you might want to try the following:
- You could do what the other party wants and admitting they are correct by having your lawyer write a letter to that effect.
- If you’re not sure of the contents of the letter, you could request additional information, especially when the subject matter relates to specific property such as trademarks. In such an instance you could request a confirmation of the complainant’s trademark registration number to be sure the details are accurate.
- You could respond and request time to stop the offending activity.
How Much Does a Cease and Desist Letter Cost?
If you’re preparing the letter yourself, you might not need to spend much, other than the cost of delivering the letter.
However, if a lawyer writes the letter on your behalf, you would likely have to pay the lawyer’s professional fees. The actual amount varies from one law firm to the other and you might be unaware of the cost implication until your consultation date.
To be safe, you might want to find a law firm that offers a free consultation at which point you can then discuss the issue of legal fees.
How We Can Help You at Mullen Law Firm
At the Mullen Law Firm, we treat cease and desist cases with the urgency and professionalism they deserve. We can provide you with quality legal representation if your rights have been infringed by a third party, or you’re being bullied, stalked, threatened, or defamed both physically and on the internet.