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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 99412
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Does the following scenario amount to extortion. One of

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Does the following scenario amount to extortion.

One of our partners in an LLC is threatening us with legal action.
This threat was made in a social group of our friends and is causing lot of embarassment.
We are a respectable family and this is hurting our reputation.
Are there grounds for taking any action against the offending partner?
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your situation. Can you please tell me:

1) What does the partner want?
2) What kind of legal action is he threatening exactly?
3) Do his claims have any merit?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This is regarding a tax issue we are having and trying to resolve.

My partner told this publicly in front of our group of friends when asked about the status of our project:


We are having legal issues. I wont' leave them until they are fully punished


The allegation regarding taxes doesn't have any merit. Even if there's a merit, isn't it illegal to make such a comment in a group of friends?


Okay, thank you for your clarification. This may not be extortion. However, it may be defamation.

Extortion is the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, or the obtaining of an official act of a public officer, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right. Ca. P. C. Sec. 518.

This is not extortion. However as stated, it may be defamation.

To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.

Now, the elements of a defamation claim are: publication of a statement of fact that is false, unprivileged, has a natural tendency to injure or which causes "special damage," and the defendant's fault in publishing the statement amounted to at least negligence. Cal. Civ. Code §§ 44, 45a, and 46..

It is not illegal to "air dirty laundry" about someone else in public, even if they are your partners (there are partner duties, but they do not prohibit free speech). However, if he gave a false claim that defamed the LLC and/or other partners, then this may be defamation and may be actionable.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

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