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I am sorry to hear about this situation.
To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.
Defamation is a cause of action. In Michigan, the elements of a defamation claim are: a false and defamatory statement concerning the plaintiff; an unprivileged publication to a third party; fault amounting at least to negligence on the part of the publisher; and either actionability of the statement irrespective of special harm (defamation per se) or the existence of actual harm caused by the publication.
So someone in his situation can sue the party that stated the defamatory statements, seeking damages.
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