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Ellen
Ellen, Lawyer, Consultant
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I am a managing partner in a medical practice with 6 other

Customer Question

I am a managing partner in a medical practice with 6 other partners. The administrative assistant of one of the partners does not like me and sent an email with falsehoods regarding me to her doctor. In it she stated that a key employee was leaving the company because she didn't respect me and that I had treated that employee badly. That doctor then forwarded the email to all of the partners to see. I showed the email to the employee who was leaving and she vehemently denied the statements and was very upset this had been stated about her. Since this email was broadcast to all of my partners I feel it has affected my reputation amongst them even though I sent them the denial of the employee who said she did not state those things. What can I do about the employee who sent the initial false email? Is this defamation of character? What about the doctor who then dispersed the email without checking the credibility, thus broadening the defamatory statements distribution?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ellen replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

Thank you for your question. My name is Ellen. I will do whatever I can to answer your questions!

What can I do about the employee who sent the initial false email?
You can file suit for defamation and tortious interference with contract

Is this defamation of character?
Yes

What about the doctor who then dispersed the email without checking the credibility, thus broadening the defamatory statements distribution?

You can file suit for defamation and possibly tortious interference with contract.

Tortious interference with contract requires the following elements:
  1. contractual relationship or business expectancy;
  2. the interferer's knowledge of the relationship or expectancy;
  3. intentional interference inducing or causing a breach or termination of the relationship or expectancy; and
  4. resultant damage to the party whose relationship or expectancy has been disrupted.
The actions of the employee who initially sent the false e-mail appears to meet all 4 elements. The doctor who then disbursed the e-mail appears to meet elements 1, 2 and 4 but only would meet element 3 if it was his intent to interfere with your employment

The elements of defamation appear to have been met by both parties. Defamation basically consists of:
  1. a false statement of fact about another;
  2. an unprivileged publication of that statement to a third party;
  3. some degree of fault, and
  4. harm or damage.
Libel is defamation by the printed word and slander is defamation by the spoken word.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can

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