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Jack R.
Jack R., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 6147
Experience:  OHIO//Texas Attorney Civil/Crimnal Practice
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I had a question regarding the first amendment. I would like

Customer Question

I had a question regarding the first amendment. I would like to post a review video on youtube of a property management company I had trouble with. If I only tell the truth, and express the video as "my opinion" and what I think (while being decent and professional, can I be sued (reasonably)? Any recommendations or tips on what not to do or things to avoid doing?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Jack R. replied 11 months ago.

Thank you for choosing Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will assist you today.

 

What you are concerned about is effectively what is sometimes referred as Business Defamation. Business defamation can be defined as publishing both a false and a defamatory or a negative sounding statement against a business. The fact that you preface your remark with the words "in my opinion " will not necessarily save you from a lawsuit. The key points you need to remember is that you cannot make what appears to be factual statements that are false and defamatory. You cannot state an opinion which you know is false. Keep you review objective, factual, without embellishments. Relate any conclusions to the facts that you know to be true. You can state an overall opinion based on the facts presented.

 

The truth is a defense to any defamation claim.

 

Please accept my answer with a rating of 3 or better so I may get credit for my response. If you have follow up questions please ask. Please note that paying the deposit does not cause funds to be disbursed until you rate my response (3 or greater).

 

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

I figured as much from research online in regards XXXXX XXXXX Couple more questions:


 


1) Can I be sued anyways if they just dont like it? Can I then countersue for legal expenses, emotional damage etc and does the defendant usually get his costs covered if, in this case a review video, is deemed factual and covered by the first amendment?


 


2) To give you a better idea, I plan on reviewing it objectively (as much as possible) and using a pseudonym. It would be something to this effect:


 


"This will be a review of yada yada yada. I reviewed this business using three categories; cost, service provided, and customer service on a five star rating etc etc..."


 


"Based on my experience, I'd have to give them a rating of one star, due to their contract allocating a ten percent monthly commission, as well as a ten percent commission on all repairs. This, to me, seems a bit pricey as you are already paying them ten percent of your monthly rent to take care of such repairs, and most companies will not charge you an additional fee for each repair, so shop around before signing a property manager."


 


"Dont take my opinion for it, look them up on other review sights such a yelp and yahoo, and stay informed."


 


Has anything I've said above made you think that I should reconsider? It will be professional and objective, and will not use my name, etc...what are the chances that a court would grant a subpoena for youtube to reveal the users information (my info) as long as the video is of this nature? Would the judge watch the video first to see if it was worth proceeding?


 


Thanks!

Expert:  Jack R. replied 11 months ago.


1) In america anyone can sue for any reason. As long is you do not make false allegations, or draw conclusions that are not factually based their law suit will fail. Under american law legal fees are generally not recoverable in civil suits. If you counterclaim for emotional distress and win (which is difficult) you would get damages.

2) Nothing you have stated should cause a problem. You are allowed to publish an opinion or your rating of a business's service. people do it all the time. Credit reporting agencies make their livelihood rating business and people. Film critics, movie critics also have no issues. You may recall that Oprah Winfrey got sued for disparaging the beef industry. Opra won, she did not get her legal costs.

Please accept my answer with a rating of 3 or better so I may get credit for my response. If you have follow up questions please ask. Please note that paying the deposit does not cause funds to be disbursed until you rate my response (3 or greater).


Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thank you. I am very happy with your advice. One more quick question, then im done...but its a difficult one. Not knowing who this is (small property management co), not a big well known one; and only does local stuff...what are the chances theyll sue assuming i have done all you advised and made the video truthful, etc? Difficult to give odds, i know, but would they bother in your experience? Is it worth it for them? Wouldnt their lawyer likely tell them they wont win (based on our assumption that i do it correctly)? Last question, thank again.
Expert:  Jack R. replied 11 months ago.
My suspicion is they will first ask (possibly through an attorney) you to take down the video. If you do not they may speak to a lawyer who will tell them that unless there is a false claim being made there is nothing they do about stopping someone from giving an honest opinion. The attorney might still try to "bully" you into taking down the video.

Would they bother, probably not, the cost to litigate something with little likelihood of succeeding is probably not worth their effort. They might send a letter.

Please accept my answer with a rating of 3 or better so I may get credit for my response. If you have follow up questions please ask. Please note that paying the deposit does not cause funds to be disbursed until you rate my response (3 or greater).



Jack R., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 6147
Experience: OHIO//Texas Attorney Civil/Crimnal Practice
Jack R. and 7 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Hello,


Per our conversation, here is my video. Anything that you see stand out as slander? Or is it good to go? I followed your advice as best I could.


 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEqcCvVAuIY

Expert:  Jack R. replied 10 months ago.
I reviewed the video. I find nothing wrong with the content. I find it is not defamatory and represents your right to express an opinion about the service your received. In that regard it is not different than Angies's list, or epinion.

I believe your rating system may be a little bit critical. You assume the average is a 3, but if they are performing to the industry standard that to me is a 5. However, this is your scale not mine. You may have information about a company that is a 5 in the categories.

Overall I do not believe this rises to business defamation if the content is truthful.

Please accept my answer with a rating of 3 or better so I may get credit for my response. If you have follow up questions please ask. Please note that paying the deposit does not cause funds to be disbursed until you rate my response (3 or greater).

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