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Unfortunately, I wish there were statutes or torts available for people to sue for those types of insults (if there were, based on the number of customers just on this site alone, not to mention in our regular practices
, who insult us because we have to tell them what the laws are, I would be a millionaire and would not need to be on this site). Of course this also depends on exactly what he is saying about you as well, allow me to continue further.
There are some possible torts if the person is making known false statements about you to others and are discrediting you with false information in the community.
While NC does not recognize the common law tort of false light, three classes of libel are recognized under NC law: (1) publications obviously defamatory which are called libel per se; (2) publications susceptible of two interpretations one of which is defamatory and the other not; and (3) publications not obviously defamatory but when considered with innuendo, colloquium, and explanatory circumstances become libelous, which are termed libels per quod. See: Arnold v. Sharpe, 296 N.C. 533
, 537, 251 S.E.2d 452
, 455 (1979).
The NC Supreme Court has stated when an unauthorized publication is libelous per se, malice and damage are presumed from the fact of publication and no proof is required as to any resulting injury. The law presumes that general damages actually, proximately and necessarily result from an unauthorized publication which is libelous per se and they are not required to be proved by evidence since they arise by inference of law, and are allowed whenever the immediate tendency of the publication is to impair plaintiff's reputation, although no actual pecuniary loss has in fact resulted.
In an action upon a publication coming within the second class, that is, a publication which is susceptible of two interpretations, one of which is defamatory, it is for the jury to determine under the circumstances whether the publication is defamatory and was so understood by those who saw it.
In publications which are libelous per quod the innuendo and special damages must be alleged and proved.
See: Flake v. Greensboro News Co., 212 N.C. 780
, 785, 195 S.E. 55
, 59 (1938).
Thus, to have an action against the person for publishing or stating false information to people about you, you have to prove they are making statements known to be false and as a direct result you are suffering harm. This is more than someone expressing their opinion about you, they have to actually know that what they are saying about you is false.
As you can see, this type of action requires more than someone insulting and belittling you in public, it has to be severe, (meaning intentionally false AND shown to cause you actual harm as a direct result, meaning loss of income).
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