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Thoreau (T-USA)
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I am a state government employee. A supervisor (not mine)

Customer Question

I am a state government employee. A supervisor (not mine) wrote a letter to the Governor's Office alleging that my department director and I developed a hit list of employees we wanted to force out of the department by making their work environment intolerable. She said she was told this by four different individuals. I don't know who told her this, but it is absolutely false - there is no hit list. The letter was released to the media and quoted in the paper. I am a lobbyist for my State department and these allegations have harmed my reputation, my ability to move to another job in state government or elsewhere, and has tainted my current work environment. The State does not appear to be investigating her claim and I have filed a grievance that they do not take seriously. Do I have grounds for a defamation lawsuit?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Thoreau (T-USA) replied 4 years ago.



­Please click Accept so that I will receive credit for my time and effort spent responding to your question.


Thank you for your question.


When a third party makes a false statement of fact about an individual and the individual suffers damages, the individual may have a basis for a defamation lawsuit. Further, that lawsuit can apply to those who repeat the false statement, provided they do so negligently. Accordingly, you may have a basis to file suit against the individual who first made the statement, the individual who released it to the press, and press who published the rumor.

A successful defamation plaintiff must typically show that:
1. The defendant made a statement of fact to a third party regarding the plaintiff;
2. The statement was not true;
3. The statement harmed the plaintiff.

However, it's important to understand that there are many defenses to defamation, including far comments on matters of public interest, innocent dissemination, and opinion. Further, if you are determined to be a public figure, you may wind up having to deal with a higher threshold for a defamation claim.

Accordingly, you'll want to take all information related to the statements and your possible claim to your attorney immediately. He may be able to negotiate to have the statements retracted and he may be able to assist you in recovering a a financial award or settlement.


While I can control the quality of an answer, my control over the content of an answer is restrained by the truth. Please do not shoot the messenger.


Please remember to click Accept and leave Positive Feedback so that I will receive credit for my time and effort spent responding to your question. Bonuses are always greatly appreciated. Clicking accept does not close the question and you are still welcome to ask follow-up questions if you need clarification.


Sincerely,

T-USA


_____________________________________

Disclaimer: By engaging in this correspondence, you agree to and understand the following:
No attorney-client relationship is formed through this correspondence. The following information is provided for educational purposes only and is not legal advice/legal services. Correspondence through JustAnswer is visible to the public and is not confidential. T-USA is not familiar with your situation and could not possibly provide legal advice/legal services through JustAnswer. T-USA does not claim to be licensed to practice law in your state. The information provided in this correspondence cannot and should not be relied on for legal purposes.
If you need legal advice/services you should visit a local attorney as soon as possible. You can find a local attorney at Lawyers.com, Martindale, a Local Lawyer Referral Service, or a Local Legal Clinic (if you cannot afford an attorney).



Edited by T-USA on 7/1/2010 at 5:43 AM EST
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Here's a link to the ridiculous article -- I wish I could get you the actual letter she sent to the Governor's office, which in their infinite wisdom they gave to the paper. What do you think?

 

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=20106030365

 

Expert:  Thoreau (T-USA) replied 4 years ago.



­Please click Accept so that I will receive credit for my time and effort spent responding to your question.



Because of the limitations and nature of this forum, I really can't review external documents and render an opinion on those documents. That's more something you'd have your attorney do during your initial consultation. I do hope that you understand.

However, I would highly recommend submitting the article to your attorney so that he can view it in light of the evidence. If the evidence suggests that untrue statements of fact were made about you, you may have a basis for recovery. While you may not have access to the letter that was sent to the Governor's Office, your attorney can subpoena a copy of that letter in any court proceedings. That could also support your claim. You may wish to take to your attorney's office a list of any possible evidence, related documents, etc. that might support your claim, as that will help your attorney evaluate the potential strength of your potential claim.

I do hope the information I've been able to provide has been valuable, even though I am not able to review the document and render an opinion on it. If so, I would appreciate it if you would click accept so that I will be compensated for the time and effort spent responding to your question. If you have any other follow-ups, please don't hesitate to ask.


While I can control the quality of an answer, my control over the content of an answer is restrained by the truth. Please do not shoot the messenger.


Please remember to click Accept and leave Positive Feedback so that I will receive credit for my time and effort spent responding to your question. Bonuses are always greatly appreciated. Clicking accept does not close the question and you are still welcome to ask follow-up questions if you need clarification.


Sincerely,

T-USA


_____________________________________

Disclaimer: By engaging in this correspondence, you agree to and understand the following:
No attorney-client relationship is formed through this correspondence. The following information is provided for educational purposes only and is not legal advice/legal services. Correspondence through JustAnswer is visible to the public and is not confidential. T-USA is not familiar with your situation and could not possibly provide legal advice/legal services through JustAnswer. T-USA does not claim to be licensed to practice law in your state. The information provided in this correspondence cannot and should not be relied on for legal purposes.
If you need legal advice/services you should visit a local attorney as soon as possible. You can find a local attorney at
Lawyers.com, Martindale, a Local Lawyer Referral Service, or a Local Legal Clinic (if you cannot afford an attorney).

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