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I have been defamed online for 3 months and this has caused…

Customer Question
I have been defamed...

I have been defamed online for 3 months and this has caused damage to my work and my mental health, what can I do to be compensated for the damages?

Lawyer's Assistant: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.

I'm Texas, but the person lives in Florida

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?

No one

Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Family Law
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3/21/2018
Family Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 15,758
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Family Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

This to me sounds like a case of defamation. Defamation is basically a false and defamatory statement, published to a third party, that causes harm (usually a lessened reputation in the community, lost business opportunity, or other harms as the facts dictate.)

Although I don't know the full extent of what was the supposed defamatory statement, run the alleged statements through that analysis to see if it fits.

If it does, then the other party may have some defenses. Here are the typical defenses in a defamation case:

(1) Legislative Privilege - Meaning the statement was made in a legislative proceeding

(2) Judicial Privilege - any participant in a judicial proceeding the absolute privilege to utter defamatory statements

(3) Executive Privilege - privilege affords an absolute privilege to high ranking executive officers of state and federal governments when acting within the scope of their discretionary duties

(4) Domestic Privilege - affords a spouse the absolute privilege to make defamatory statements about a third person to their spouse.

(5) Truth - if the statements you made were true, then this is a defense as well

(6) Opinion - courts have ruled that the opinion defense is one where if you provide your opinion, then a defamation charge will not stand.

Usually, those defenses aren't going to be valid, but oftentimes opinion is the one that gives people the most trouble.

You may want to consider just writing a cease and desist letter advising them to stop this activity immediately or risk a lawsuit. There’s a site that I’ve used in the past where you can find a good template cease and desist letter (click here). Lawyers use letters like these often to enforce their client’s rights. It only costs $10 and it is way cheaper than litigation.

What other questions did you have for me today that I can help you out with:-)?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
I dont want send letters
Family Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

I understand. If you want to file a lawsuit, you can.

Filing a lawsuit is relatively simple, but there are some specific steps you must follow. Generally, you will want to begin with drafting up your complaint on 28-line pleading paper. You can usually get 28-line pleading paper as a Microsoft Word template or just looking online for a free copy of one. I usually recommend that you begin with a brief introduction and then start a new heading with a new paragraph where you lay out the facts. Once you are done laying out the facts, create a new heading that provides your legal analysis. For example, you could say that a breach of contract occurs when someone fails to fulfill their obligation in an agreement. It doesn't have to be very long, but something that explains what your legal authority is to bring the case. Afterward, you will want to have your “Prayer for Relief” as a separate heading and then you put in what you want (e.g. amount of money you want). Make three copies of this.

Once you do that, you should either look online or go to the courthouse to find out if there are any specific forms you must fill out. Many county courthouses require specific forms depending on the cause of action that you have and they’ll reject it if you don’t have the right forms. If you can get three copies in advance of going to the courthouse, do so and attach them to your complaint.

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Family Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

Once you fill out the forms and you have your complaint, you should go to the courthouse and file them. Most lawsuits require a filing fee. The court will stamp that the docs have been received. The court will keep one copy of the received document and the court will give you back the others (one for you to keep and one for you to serve).

When you get those documents, you should go to www.thumbtack.com and find a process server. A process server is a person who will serve a copy of the lawsuit on the other party. Service is required when you are suing someone for almost all papers you file with the court. A process server must be at least 18 years old and not involved in the case in any way. If you have a friend or family member who can do it, they can serve it for you, too. Otherwise, most process servers charge something like 50-100 dollars. Once service is complete, the process server will typically have to file a “proof of service” form to swear to the court that they filed the documents.

Finally, there’s the discovery process where you can ask the other party for documents and even take statements from witnesses (these are called depositions). If you can’t reach agreement, then you go to trial.

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Family Lawyer: Legal Eagle, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

In your case, you would probably need to look at small claims court unless your claim is well over $5,000. Otherwise, you can go straight a judge. Just be sure that you have proof.

Did you have any other questions for me today that I could help you with?

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