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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 30167
Experience:  Attorney
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Can I sue a news station an investigative story that is

Customer Question

Can I sue a news station for airing an investigative story that is based on a libelous accusation made by a disgruntled customer that has no receipts or proof of any wrong doing I am a spiritualist I own a spiritual supply store . I charge people a donation
fee for making offerings to the saints on their behalf for a request. A client that has been a client of mine for over a year (requested that I help stop her eviction) and i had an argument she got angry and called the local news station. They are preparing
a production of segment of her saying I said things I didn't say. I even offered her a refund prior to this whole fiasco so long as she can prove that the requests she made of me to prevent her from getting evicted are true by providing me with an eviction
notice. She and I had no paper contracts and any fees she paid were paid in cash. When I spoke to the reporter she said my client never acknowledged to her that she had been my client for years and partook in various spiritual sessions with me. She said the
woman claimed I told her that something would happen in 9 days and that nothing happened. I never said this. And as of now my client is still living in the apartment she was supposed to be evicted from since 12/31/14. How can they say I scammed her? When she
is living there? And she's been partaking in spiritual work with me for various reasons for so long.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
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Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.
You can absolutely sue your former customer for slander for making false statements about you and publicizing them. What you're entitled to is any lost business as a result of her actions, plus punitive damages.
However, the First Amendment gives the media a little more protection than the average citizen. To sue a newspaper or media outlet for defamation of character, you have to be able to prove that they acted with actual malice. That means that they knew the customer was lying, or that they used reckless disregard in determining whether the story was true before airing it. That's a much higher burden than you'd have against an ordinary individual.
You do have the ability to ask the news outlet to air a retraction or your side of the story, which you did. If you show them any evidence you have that the woman is lying and they continue to air the original story without making any effort to determine whose telling the truth, then you might have a case against them. Because at that point, they're on notice that they should be investigating more carefully before they say anything else about the story.
One other thing: You didn't mention what the statements against you were. If they are OPINION statements, those are allowed. Under the Constitution, you're allowed to say your opinion all day long, even if it reflects negatively on someone else. Only untrue factual statements can be the basis for defamation.
It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Thank you.