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Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 101381
Experience:  Lawyer
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Is it libel when someone writes comments in a book about you,

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Is it libel when someone writes comments in a book about you, eg. Comments have been written about my father by a former partner in an architectural firm alleging that my father was less skilled as a partner than they had hoped, although the firm practiced for 12 years and was considered one of the top firms in Canada at the time, in the 1960 s and 70 s. The person who wrote this book also characterizes my father as charming sAlesperson who convinced clients to give the firm jobs. This book has been widely distributed around the city my father lived in. What do you think ?
Thank you for your question.

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As well, please understand that as a careful lawyer I will always give you an honest answer even if the answer is sometimes not what you were hoping for.

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I am sorry to hear this.

Is your father still living?

Does the author state an opinion or is the author actually stating certain things are actual facts when they are lies?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
My father passed away 7 years ago and the author states opinions only. In exact quotes he says my father who had joined the firm didn't develop into the partner we had assumed he would, although he was a wonderful salesman who charmed clients into giving us jobs, which is what he said he would do.. This book has just been distributed at a book launch party to approx. 300 friends and families, eg, all were given copies. It may also be available for sale in bookstores. Do I have any grounds to suggest that they take out this libelous passage before it is distributed any more ?. Thank you
I am sorry this happened.

But it's not defamation in a legal sense if the lies are about a dead person. I suppose that is because the reputation of a dead person cannot be damaged in the sense that the dead person does not suffer damages.

As well, an opinion is never defamation.

So unfortunately there is nothing you can do in terms of suing the author.

Let me know if you need any further clarification.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Even though my father is dead isn't it defamation of character in that all one has after dying is ones professional reputation, and he spent 40 years building that reputation through hard work and excellent attention to detail and customer service. He was very well regarded in his field as a very careful and hardworking brilliant business man. What are your thoughts ?
I understand how you feel and agree with you but the law is very clear.

It is simply not possible to sue for defamation about a dead person. The Court cannot consider this. The law does not allow it.

And, even if it did, stating an opinion is mean sometimes but it's never defamation as it's a true opinion and not a lie.
Debra and other Canada Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
So does that mean someone can just write anything defamatory about someone once they are dead ? Doesn't seem right. And then let me ask you a hypothetical question if my father were alive how would those comments in the book rate on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of libel ? Thank you
It may be possible to get an order where the estate sues to get the statements removed from the book but the estate cannot sue for damages.

But even if your father were alive as I've explained an opinion does not count as defamation ever.

So if the author says I don't think he was a good architect that is fine.

If the author says a client left us because this man was a bad architect and that is not true then if your father were living that would be defamation.