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I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.
In California, defamation is a civil tort. See Cal. Civ. Code, Sections 44-46. As a general rule, yes, a person can be sued for slander. However, not all negative statements fall within the definition of slander. Can you give me more information about what type of statement was made, how it was distributed to others, and how your reputation was affected as a result and what types of harm you suffered?
What does "betting put a little girl" mean?
Did anyone hear these statements other than you and your husband?
Ok, thank you. I'm sorry that this is happening.
That's what's called "slander per se." Accusing someone falsely of committing a crime is so bad, you're actually allowed to sue for damages and the judge will presume your reputation suffered. You just need to establish that the statements were made and other people heard them. You don't even have to prove it's untrue - she would have to prove the statements were true to avoid a judgment.
You're allowed to seek up to $10,000 in Small Claims Court, which is fairly user friendly and does not require a lawyer. Many defamation cases are handled in Small Claims unless the plaintiff lost his or her job or incurred significant expenses as a result of the false statement. The courts have forms and instructions online.