My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
Slander is any untrue statement of fact that tends to harm the reputation of the person about whom the statement is made. Allegations that a person has committed a crime are defamation
per se - that means that reputational harm will be presumed. Bullying tends to include assault, battery, threats and other harassment
, so a bullying allegation can include criminal conduct. That means that your son may have a claim against the boy for making these comments.
The parents are not automatically liable for false statements made by their child. However, if they repeated the statements, they could be liable if they knew that the statements were false or were reckless in determining whether the statements are true or false. That's the standard if a judge finds that bullying is a matter of public concern (which seems likely). If you can argue successfully that this is not a matter of public concern, you would only have to show that they made the statements, regardless of whether they believed them to be true.
The first step in this situation is often to send a "cease and desist
" letter. The parents will likely take it more seriously if it is sent by certified mail, especially if it is written by a local attorney. The other option is for your son to file a lawsuit seeking damage to his reputation. A parent can file on behalf of a child "as next friend," but your son would be the plaintiff (unless they are also making comments about you). A person can seek up to $3,000 in Small Claims
Court. If your damages are more than that, you may want to sit down with a local attorney who can help evaluate the case.
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