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I'd like to know whether I should pursue a defamation claim.

Customer Question
I'd like to know...

I'd like to know whether I should pursue a defamation claim.

Lawyer's Assistant: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state you're in?

NJ

Lawyer's Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?

No

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

I received an email message accusing me of harassment and bullying towards a fellow member of a not-for-profit board. Though I can't be sure, I believe the email was forwarded or BCC'd to others.

Submitted: 1 month ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
1/3/2018
Employment Lawyer: Dwayne B., Lawyer replied 1 month ago
Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 34,387
Experience: Employment Law Expert
Verified

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today.

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Employment Lawyer: Dwayne B., Lawyer replied 1 month ago

Please allow me several minutes to read your facts and type my response both initially and when you add a follow up question or add facts. Please don't ask "are you there", etc., since when you post it can erase what I am working on. If we are having a conversation unless I tell you I am going offline, I will be here but I may be doing research.

While waiting for a response, please do not keep asking questions, such as "Are you there", etc. since that can erase whatever I am writing and also interrupts the thought process. I will be back with you as soon as I can do any research necessary, formulate a response, and type it in.

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Employment Lawyer: Dwayne B., Lawyer replied 1 month ago

We can't really advise you on whether you should or should not file a particular lawsuit, mainly because there is no way possible for us to look at all of the materials, read all the witness statements, etc.

However, what I can tell you is it is very, very rare that a case for defamation/libel/slander is worth pursuing. One reason is that the cost of pursuing the case is no less than it is for other cases including attorney's fees and in these types of cases attorney's fees are not a recoverable element of damages. So if an attorney charges you $15k to handle the case (which is likely a minimum) you would have to be awarded at least that amount before you actually "make" any money. Then you have to consider the amount of costs involved.

Finally, judges and juries aren't inclined to award much money on these cases unless you can prove that the false statements (a necessity for a defamation claim) actually cost you money. This would mean you have to prove it somehow lost business for you, made you lose your job, etc. If you can't prove that then it is unlikely that you would be awarded more than the amount you spend on attorney's fees and costs.

Certainly there re some cases in which this isn't true, but I'd estimate the % of cases where the plaintiff actually comes out ahead is probably 10% or so.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a 5 Star Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. A bonus or "tip" is, of course, appreciated but neither required nor expected. Regardless, please feel free to ask any follow-up questions in this thread. I want to be sure all of your questions are answered.

Even if you are a subscriber or have a trial membership please leave a 5 Star Positive Rating so that the website knows I have answered your question.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Ok. In that case should get a lawyer to defend myself against the false claims?
Employment Lawyer: Dwayne B., Lawyer replied 1 month ago

Yes, at least get a local lawyer to look over the various aspects of the case. They can also send the person a "cease and desist" letter and maybe make them back off. If they don't, then it does increase your chance of winning a defamation case since your lawyer will be setting them up.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Ok. Thanks. This is
Great stuff. Last question: Can you recommend a local attorney in Princeton by any chance?
Employment Lawyer: Dwayne B., Lawyer replied 1 month ago

No, unfortunately we're not allowed by the website to give specific referrals.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a 5 Star Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. A bonus or "tip" is, of course, appreciated but neither required nor expected. Regardless, please feel free to ask any follow-up questions in this thread. I want to be sure all of your questions are answered.

Even if you are a subscriber or have a trial membership please leave a 5 Star Positive Rating so that the website knows I have answered your question.

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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