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A niehbor tells my landlord that I threatened to kill them…

Customer Question
A niehbor tells my landlord...
A niehbor tells my landlord that I threatened to kill them over a disagreement about a dog. What can I do to legally protect myself against such slander?
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Landlord-Tenant
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Answered in 12 minutes by:
3/12/2012
Lawyer: AttorneyTom, Attorney replied 6 years ago
AttorneyTom
AttorneyTom, Attorney
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 9,176
Experience: Licensed Attorney
Verified
Hello! Thank you for bringing your question to JustAnswer! I'm T-USA and I'll be happy to provide some valuable information!

I've spent the last several minutes reviewing and researching your question. As you review this answer, please keep in mind that I only get credit for answering your question if you click Accept, so I'd be grateful if you'd do so. You'll still be able to ask follow-up questions using the Reply feature.

I'm very, very sorry to hear about the situation! Such accusations can be quite terrifying.

The first and most important thing to remember is that you've actually been accused of a crime. If the neighbor or the landlord reports the matter to law enforcement, you could potentially be arrested and charged with a crime as a result. Therefore, you will want to be very cautious with anything you say and, if you discuss the matter with anyone, you want to involve your attorney as thoroughly as possible. Your attorney will help you to make sure that you don't make any damaging statements that might be used against you if you are charged. Unfortunately, people often make statements in good faith and those statements often come back at them later. Therefore, your attorney's assistance is very important, as it's possible to damage your own case.

As for defamation, a successful defamation plaintiff must show that:
1. The defendant made a statement of fact to a third party regarding the plaintiff;
2. The statement was not true;
3. The statement harmed the plaintiff.
If all three of those elements are met, you could potentially sue the neighbor for defamation. Further, even if you haven't yet sustained harm, you may wish to have your attorney draft a letter demanding that the party retract the statements so as to prevent damage from resulting. This can be helpful in showing an individual that a victim of defamation is serious about protecting and enforcing his rights, and that can deter future defamation and mitigate any damages that have already resulted.

Further, if the other person reports the matter to police and if it's untrue, the individual could potentially be charged with the crime of false reporting. However, police would need evidence that the statement is untrue before such a charge would be considered.

I know that this answer may not be entirely what you wanted to hear. However, it's the honest truth and I know you want a truthful answer above all. I don't get any credit for my time and effort spent answering your question unless you click Accept.

Please use Reply to let me know if you have any other questions!

Thank you again for coming to JustAnswer!
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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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