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Andrea, Esq.
Andrea, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12554
Experience:  25 yrs. experience in family law, estates, real estate, business law, criminal defense, immigration, and employment law.
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My ex is trying to damage my reputation by sending an email

Customer Question

My ex is trying to damage my reputation by sending an email to my friends and business partners containing false statements. Below are quotes from the email she sent to two executives at the company I work with copying me. Please advise me if these statements are sufficient for a defamation lawsuit. Also, I have no idea what else she would do; thus, is there a legal mechanism to make her stop defaming me? All parties involved live in California.
As a background, I recently disputed a credit card charge that I made to my ex’s friend who is a dress designer, John. I paid John to make a dress and give it to me; he unilaterally gave it to my ex instead. Hence, I disputed this with my credit card company, and after their independent investigation, they determined that I am to be credited back as I did not receive the product I paid for.
Here are quotes from the email she sent to the two executives. Adam is myself (all names were altered for privacy).
“Now, because I had decided I did not want Adam involved in my life anymore, Adam decided to commit chargeback fraud by claiming that the dress "was not received". This is fraud and your associate, Adam, has no problem committing it.”
“I warn you that associating your business with someone so willing to mess up other peoples lives because they cannot handle their own emotional instability is a horrible idea. I recommend you think twice before working with him again.”
“And truthfully, I would not be getting involved in this situation at all because he did not screw me over, he screwed over an innocent third party man, John, who is just trying to make a living. I am getting involved because I know what is happening to John right now and he does not deserve to be submitted to Adam's immature antics.”
“I hope you understand I do not mean to offend, however Adam is refusing to answer and honestly being a very very little boy.”
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Andrea, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, and Welcome to JustAnswer, I will be glad to Answer your question and the only thing I ask is that you leave a positive rating for my Answer. You have already made a deposit with JustAnswer in order to post your question, so leaving a Positive rating will not cost you anything additional, and it is the only way that JustAnswer will give me credit for assisting you, Fair enough ?

In order for you, as the Plaintiff to recover damages in a lawsuit against the defendant for defamation of character, you would have to plead and prove the following -

1. The defendant has made (or is making) false and derogatory statements about you; 2. The defendant is making these statements, despite knowing they were false;

3. The defendant made these false and derogatory statements to a third party (If they were made in the form of a letter to a third party, it is called "libel", if these statements were made verbally, then it is called "Slander");

4. You (the Plaintiff) suffered damages as a result of these defamatory statements. But, if your ex's statements accuse you of committing the crime of fraud against the credit card company, then the law does not require you to prove that you sustained damages, because the general legal principle that applies to these situations, states that where a defendant's false and derogatory statements accuse a Plaintiff of the commission of a crime, the Plaintiff is not required to prove damages or the extent of his damages because the law presumes that a Plaintiff has sustained damages if the defendant makes false statements to third parties that the Plaintiff has committed a crime.

In order to protect your name and reputation, you would file your lawsuit against the defendant and you would ask the Court not only to award you damages, but you would also ask the Court to issue an Injunction (which is a Court Order) against the defendant, Ordering the defendant to immediately cease and desist making any further statements to third parties that you had committed the crime of fraud. If the defendant disobeys the Court's Order, then the defendant would be subject to Contempt of Court which carries a jail sentence of up to six (6) months,

Please be kind enough to leave a Positive rating for my Answer so that JustAnswer will give me credit for Answering your question,

Bonus and Positive Feedback are very much appreciated,

Kindest Regards,

ANDREA

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Dear *****,
Thank you for your help. From what I understand, it seems that the key statement made by her was “Adam decided to commit chargeback fraud by claiming that the dress "was not received". This is fraud and your associate, Adam, has no problem committing it.”And according to the four criteria:1. false/derogatory: unsubstantiated accusations of committing fraud were made.
2. despite knowing their were false: she knows that the independent investigation by my credit card company proved that my dispute was legitimate, and hence, they honored it. I was never charged with fraud, and I certainly was never convicted with it or any other crime for that matter.
3. third party: sent to two executives
4. damages: given that the statements accused me of committing illegal acts, no need to prove damages.Were the above points all fulfilled by her statement(s) above? If not, which ones were not and to what extent? Regarding (1) proving that her statements were false, she unsubstantiatedly stated that I’m guilty of breaking the law; is the burden of proof on her or on me; i.e. do I need to prove my innocence here? Regarding (2), isn’t it her responsibility to verify whether or not someone has actually committed an illegal act before spreading it?Note that she has been sending many damaging statements to many people about me, so I simply have to know what to look for. I know this is the lawyer’s job but I would rather make sure I have the basic requirements before hiring a lawyer.I’m still unsure whether or not to go ahead with a lawsuit – I realize that some requirements might not have been met for a defamation lawsuit. However, she has to stop spreading false statements about me; thus, should I just hire a lawyer to send her a cease and desist letter? It is my understanding that for a C&D letter to be effective, it has to show that such a case would win if it goes to trial. Based on the above statements, do you think that this would require a particularly skilled lawyer? What kind of lawyer can best do this? How much would the C&D letter cost? And how much would it further cost if I decide to pursue a lawsuit? She lives 400 miles away from me – still both in California; is it better to get a lawyer in my area or hers?Finally, what’s the potential that pursuing any of these legal options fire-backs at me for any reason?Thank you.