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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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There is a site that is defaming me and I want Google to exclude

Customer Question

There is a site that is defaming me and I want Google to exclude it from a search of my name. They said that they will only do that if I get a court order. The site is hosted by Their servers are offshore so that you can't get to them legally. Clearly they would not answer a summons. Couldn't I get an order very simply? They are not interested in being under the control of law and state so on their site. I need to know how to do this exactly. The EXACT procedures. I live in Massachusetts.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TexLaw replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for asking this question. Unfortunately, it is not a simple matter to get an order over a foreign website to take down defamatory speech. That being said, it is not impossible.

In short, you would file suit in Massachusetts District Court seeking an injunction against the website on the grounds of defamation.

Here are the steps you would take:

1. Find out where the website's corporate headquarters are. This isn't necessarily where the website is hosted, but where its offices are or where the owner lives.

2. You would file a petition in District Court claiming Defamation. To prevail on his defamation claim, you have to establish that the website published a false statement about you to a third party (websites naturally publish to 3rd parties) that either caused you economic loss or was of the type that is actionable without proof of economic loss. See White v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mass., Inc., 442 Mass. 64, 66, 809 N.E.2d 1034 (2004); Eyal v. Helen Broadcasting Corp., 411 Mass. 426, 429-430, 583 N.E.2d 228 (1991). See also Restatement (Second) of Torts § 558 (1977). A false statement that "would tend to hold the plaintiff up to scorn, hatred, ridicule or contempt, in the minds of any considerable and respectable segment in the community," would be considered defamatory, Stone v. Essex County Newspapers, Inc., 367 Mass. 849, 853, 330 N.E.2d 161 (1975), [**554] and the imputation of a crime is defamatory per se, requiring no proof of special damages. See Lynch v. Lyons, 303 Mass. 116, 118-119, 20 N.E.2d 953 (1939). The element of publication is satisfied where the defamatory communication is transmitted to even one person other than the plaintiff. See Brauer v. Globe Newspaper Co., 351 Mass. 53, 56, 217 N.E.2d 736 (1966); Restatement (Second) of Torts, supra at § 577 [***9] . Contrast Economopoulos v. A. G. Pollard Co., 218 Mass. 294, 297, 105 N.E. 896 (1914) (no publication where defamatory words, spoken in presence of others, uttered in foreign language and only understood by plaintiff). Your petition would need to state this. District court is a small claims court, so the pleading requirements are not strict. Your local court may have forms which you can use to fill out your claim.

3. File the petition, have the clerk issue a citation for service of process (forms should be available at the court), and have the website served. This will require hiring a foreign process server to find the website's office and serve them with the court documents. Once you have located the country in which the website's offices are, you can google a process server in that country to serve the papers.

4. Since the Defendant is not in the country, it will likely not answer the lawsuit. At that point, after the statutory waiting period is over (which is usually 20-30 days from the date you have the defendant served), you move for a "Default Judgment". This is a motion which lays out all the evidence you have to meet the elements of Defamation. Then you set the motion for a hearing by calling the clerk of the court. On the hearing date you go to court and tell the judge you want a default judgment.

5. You will need to draft the judgment to state that the website is ordered to take down the defamatory statements immediately. Once you have that order you can send it to the website.

This is a simplification of the process and may involve many different issues which you will have to confront when they arise. Being a small claims court, the District court may help you out when it comes to various procedures.

Good luck,
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Zachary:
Excellent work. One small question. The "Whois" service lists the administrative offices as having a Japanese address. Would this constitute proof of address?
Expert:  TexLaw replied 3 years ago.
Yes. Absolutely. That is where you should send the lawsuit for service, and it should be relatively easy to find a process server there.
TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience: Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
TexLaw and 9 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Oh one last thing how would I look these cases up. IE how do I read your legal cites?
Nat Pine
Expert:  TexLaw replied 3 years ago.
I access these cases online by using a subscription platform called Lexis. However, it does have a free cite.
You enter in the name, or one of the locators behind the name, and this will pull up the case. For instance, to look up:

White v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mass., Inc., 442 Mass. 64, 66, 809 N.E.2d 1034 (2004)

You would go to lexis (or findlaw, or other site) and enter 809 N.E.2d 1034, which stands for its location within the North Eastern Reporter series.

If this is not successful, then you must go to the nearest law library (most counties have one near the courthouse) and ask the librarians for help looking up the cases.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
thanks so much Zach.
Expert:  TexLaw replied 3 years ago.
Youre welcome. Let me know if you need any further help

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