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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 111657
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Can you file slander charges against someone?

Customer Question

can you file charges against someone for slandering your name? i have a text message saved that says "think they would arrest me for slandering your good name, give me a break, ridiculous". which shows the person admits they are slandering me.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.

It is not a violation of criminal law to slander someone, so the police would have nothing to do with it. If someone has made known false statements to a third party about you AND those statements have caused you actual damage (meaning financial damages) then you can sue them in civil court for the slander/defamation. However, the person telling you they would not be arrested is very accurate.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
OK but how is it not against the law when they are slandering my name on the internet (aka Facebook) for others to judge and see? I think that should be some type of defirmation of character??
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
It may be, but to sue in court you need to be able to prove some actual damages. There is some exception for slander/defamation per se, it involves comments like saying someone has a sexual transmitted disease or has a criminal record they do not have, but other than that, you need to prove some actual damages and then you could sue.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
well for one thing i have been caused physical and mental pain in my pregnancy due to stress from this person slandering my name on Facebook, saying that I cheated on someone when I didn't....saying I caused harm/lies/etc to my family and I have not done that....basically saying she hopes my marriage ends in a divorce, etc.

what would i do with that kind of info?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Mental pain and suffering is not something that is compensable UNLESS you have some other actual monetary damage to prove. If there was some actual monetary damage THEN you could collect for the mental harm. The reason the courts require actual damages is because it prevents the courts from being clogged with every case where someone says something bad about someone because they don't like them.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
what do you mean "unless you have some other actual monetary damage to prove"?

this stress from her slander and lies has caused me to have pains physically in my pregnancy Crytitle="Cry"/>
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
I understand your frustration and anger. I mean like someone making these comments and it causing an employer to fire you or an employer not to hire you or cause you to lose some financial deal. Actual monetary damages. One possibility, but it is a stretch, is a possible suit for the common law tort of false light, which is part of the invasion of privacy torts, where someone publishes false statements to portray you in a false light in your community. But these cases are very difficult to win, since people do have First Amendment rights to express their opinions and because the courts are very skeptical of these claims, but it is a possibility if you are willing to spend the money on an attorney to file this suit and as I said as it is nowhere near close to a guaranteed win so you would have to pay an attorney by the hour and likely about a $3500-$5000 retainer to even take the case.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
i just think it is strange that if this is causing me physical pain with my pregnancy that there isnt something i could do? i mean what happens if the stress was so bad it caused me to have a misscarrage??
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 6 years ago.
You could try also a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress in addition to the false light claim, but again, these cases are very difficult and expenses to bring and the courts do not deal in hypothetical what if it causes a miscarriage. I do understand your frustration, you just need to be aware that it is just very difficult and costly to sue over these types of issues, if the courts did not set such high standards then anyone could sue for any comment made about them. I did not say you had zero chance, but it is not going to be a slam dunk open and shut case.

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