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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
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If a lawyer brings up a child in a custody case where the child

Resolved Question:

If a lawyer brings up a child in a custody case where the child is a child with a disability but is not the child involved in the custody dispute, and says in open court that the child is retarded even though that is the wrong diagnosis and keeps pushing that as his case what can the guardian of the disabled child do legally?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 6 years ago.

Hello there:


is this something that has already happened, or is this something you are concerned about happening in the future?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
It is something that has already happened and is continueing to happen. My boyfriend and his ex-wife are in a custody battle. Yesterday in court her lawyer said that my son is "retarded" (mentally) because of neglect when I was pregnant. Which is false my son is Autistic because I myself am Autistic.Also"Autism" is a biological disorder and cannot be caused by such activities as he was describing I had to have engaged in while pregnant. After I was put on the stand to say just that because I was not suppose to get on the stand at all because I asked not to be, her lawyer still continued to refer to my son as mentally retarded for the duration of trial and it was recessed till tuesday. what I am really asking is if I can file a defamation and slander suit against the lawyer?
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 6 years ago.

Hello again:


The nuances vary by jurisdiction, but generally, someone has committed the tort of defamation of character when they make an intentionally false communication, either published or publicly spoken, that injures another's reputation or good name. In other words, if you spread harmful or hurtful lies about someone, you can get sued. In a defamation case, the burden of proof is on the defendant to show that the statements were true.

However, statements made in court are exempt from defamation claims; if the statemetns are being made outside of court's proceedings, a defamation suit may be filed. Therefore, if the court is in recess and the attorney turns to the bailiff to say "this woman neglected her kid", that could be considered defamatory.

Let me know if I may be of further assistance. Thank you.

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