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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
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Experience:  Attorney with significant personal injury experience
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If I write a letter to the editor and get my opinions published

Resolved Question:

If I write a letter to the editor and get my opinions published on line, in local newspapers and picked up by local media how do I protect myself from being sued for libel, slander, defamation of character, etc?

I've written a letter that I seek to have published - in which I name the owners of 3 local hotels because of actions they plan to take that I believe will significantly reduce my property values - as well as our enjoyment of our home.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you, I will do everything I can to answer your question.

Truth is an absolute defense to claims for defamation, libel, and slander. Thus, so long as you are not making false accusations, the First Amendment protects your right to freedom of speech and you can say anything you want.

Furthermore, claims for defamation cannot arise from pure statements of opinion. Any opinion is subjective and personal to the opinion-holder. An opinion is not provably true or false and, thus, cannot form the basis for a defamation suit.

I'd shy away from statements you are not confident you can prove. If you stick to opinions (i.e. "What they are doing wrong is sickening") and true statements of fact, an individual in your circumstance would typically have nothing to worry about.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes to you and thank you so much for coming to Just Answer.

Patrick, Esq., Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 7217
Experience: Attorney with significant personal injury experience
Patrick, Esq. and 8 other Personal Injury Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

thanks for your prompt and detailed reply.


 


I'm not sure how to attach the letter I'm referring to - would you take a look at it to see if I've opened myself up to litigation?


 


(by the way - I actually have no assets in my name - having had to declare bankruptcy in 2011 - and my wife & I are not technically married)

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Paul,

Thank you for your reply. Unforutnately, I can only answer general questions about the law. I cannot perform any sort of document review services as that would constitute "legal advice" in violation of the terms of this site and my state bar.

I should note that if you have a bankruptcy from 2011 (which is publically discoverable through some basic research), its even more unlikely you'd be sued because the plaintiffs would recognize that you are unlikely to ever be able to satisfy their judgment, should they obtain one. You are not a "big fish with deep pockets," so to speak.

If you have any other specific questions, I am more than happy to answer them.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

thanks so much - after I sent the last email I read the TOS below and realized that you couldn't answer what I've asked.


 


However - what you did respond with regarding bankruptcy - definitely helped too.


 


thanks so much

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome. Best of luck moving forward and thank you so much for being a Just Answer customer.

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