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JuliaCB, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 7
Experience:  Over ten years expereince in family, criminal, real estate, small business and personal injury.
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i am being sued for libel/slander/defamation of character,

Customer Question

i am being sued for libel/slander/defamation of character, have question
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  JuliaCB replied 8 years ago.
What are your specific questions?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
a former coworker is suing me. summons said defamation of character, libel and slander. suing for half a million dollars

this is all based on an anonymous posting where I ranted about a situation where he lied to the owner of the company we worked for and maliciously got me fired. he then went on to lie to unemployment to prevent me from claiming benefits. this was back in July 2008. the posting I made was my opinion, though there is no reference that it was me, again, it was an anonymous posting, and there is a means for anyone to rebute a posting.

i am obtaining the documents from unemployment showing that he lied to them to prevent me from claiming, which to me, shows he has a history of lying to cause harm to me.

he is claiming that he lost work and suffered emotional damage due to my comments, yet he was working there well after I was fired. I did call my attorney and have a meeting tomorrow, but just want to know what I may be in for.
Expert:  JuliaCB replied 8 years ago.
It will likely be dismissed. The first thing I assume your attorney will do is file a Motion to Dismiss claiming that even in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, the elements of the claims cannot be met. Additonally, slander and libel are two different things one requires it to be spoken and one written. They also have to show that it is not true which as you said above highly unlikley. Additionally, have to establish that someone actually took it as truth and something bad happend such as loss of a job, loss of reputation in the community in order to obatin damages. The case will likley go away at some point but you are obviously having to spend money to defend the claim. Your attorney might discuss with you filing a false claim and use that as a means to get recovery for your expenses for litigating the posting. Even if they can show you posted it, highly unlikley based on what you said they can show the additional elelments of the causes of action.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
though I specifically did not give my name, this person's name was called out. i ranted about how I was treated at my former employer, and all comments were made in context to that place. never did I mention anything regarding any other business he was involved in, and most would probably be considered opinion rather than fact. i am getting written records from unemployment where he wrote down false statements regarding me to prevent me from claiming unemployment. my issue is that anyone who knows the situation can assume that post is from me. do i deny i made that posting, or do i admit I did it. can they do anything to prove it was me, or is it as you said, they need to prove that losses occurred due to those comments. at my former employer, there was another coworker who filed a claim against me, agreeing with false allegations he made against me, and she wasn't in the state when this all went down, so she followed what he said word for word. i am afraid that he would find a way to fabricate a situation to make it seem like someone did take my comments as truth and he did lose business based on those. would he just need a statement from someone claiming they were going to hire him but read my comments and decided not to?
Expert:  JuliaCB replied 8 years ago.
Generally these types of cases go away. Obviously you will discuss this with your attorney as far as strategy, etc. If your attorney thinks there is a change this person may win, and or the cost in litigating is not worth it, then you can always talk about trying to settle it. Is the other person represented? Additionally, be careful about saying too much in this forum as it is not private. I think there is a way to email me privately with more details on here or log in and chat privately. The burden is on the complainant to prove it though and the standard is higher. Also the statute of limitations for the causes of actions listed are usually less than the normal statute of limitations. There may be some other ways to get rid of the case. I can look at the complaint and discuss specifics with you further if you want. Again, though you said you had a meeting with an attorney tomorrow so it might not be worth it to you. Initially though if I was your attorney there are various motions I would file prior to filing your answer. to try and get the case dismissed. If the person is represented by an attorney they may not want to keep paying the cost to litigate this fully. If they are proceeding pro se (without an attorney) they may not know how they are supposed to respond to all the motions, will not know the procedures, etc.
Customer: replied 8 years ago. sounds like the situation may be in my favor, though I will have to pursue things legally with this. what do you need to look at the complaint? I can email the details, what the summons specifically says, to you later tonight if that helps. I just want to know what I am involved in when I discuss this with the attorney.

I do know that he was gainfully employed after I was let go, and do know that for at least 3 weeks afterwards, he was employed, since my friend and former coworker worked there for 3 weeks after I was let go (he gave his notice on that Friday due to the situation with this guy and the owner, and left 2 weeks later). And in driving past that place after both of us left, the person suing me, his car was visable in the employee parking lot. I think too that the paperwork from unemployment will show him responding, and show that he worked there for some time after I was let go. If he was fired from there by the owner, it was not due to anything I said, as I had no contact with them after I was let go.

this guy is represented by an attorney.
Expert:  JuliaCB replied 8 years ago.
The complaint should specifically state the allegations. If I see specifically what they claim then I can tell you what you need to address each issue. Attorneys are expensive. Eventually, they may see it's not worth proceeding. Or a low offer may be enough to appease. Just options, not what you need to do or what will happen. So if you want specifics to each allegation email me the complaint and email me the jurisdiction you are in. Thanks.
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
How do I email you? I will send along the allegations.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Please send me your contact information so I can complete the questions I have for you. Thank you.
Expert:  JuliaCB replied 8 years ago.
[email protected] and phone(NNN) NNN-NNNN Thanks.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Hello Julia,

Thank you for your assistance. You offered to be a set of eyes on this if I could email you that information. I do not have your email address in which to send along that information.

I did meet with a lawyer today, and aside from sticker shock for the cost of proceeding (I know there is a cost, but you are never prepared to come up with large sums of money within 2 weeks), he is planning to submit my reply on this. I am just in the process of getting the funds to get him on retainer, as well as procure the funds to move forward once that step is done.

As soon as I know what your info is, I will send along specifics to this case.

Of note, the only witness to the incident at my former employer, which ballooned into this situation, does corraborate my story, not the plaintiff's claim. He essentially said that if I am proven to be telling the truth, despite that it is negative about the plaintiff, and despite the angry tone to which I wrote the online tome on what happened to me, that he has to prove I lied about what I wrote in order for it to be considered defamation. He is citing me with slander as well as libel, but the single post from me was just the written - there was never any verbal outing of this, other than relaying this incident in front of a judge for unemployment, when I appealed to get my benefits (my former employer and this guy never showed to the scheduled hearing). I am obtaining copies of all of that information, which should corraborate my side of things. I also could get my former coworker and friend to testify, as he was the sole witness to the events of that day. I did submit a written statement from him to my lawyer, again corraborating my side of the story.

What I wonder though is that he has to prove what I wrote was false, and that it directly affected him in the ways he is claiming. If I know I am correct, and his story about me is false, how does that proceed? I am sure he has fabricated...or glossed over his direct actions and embellished or added to what I did. I know from what he wrote about me to unemployment, he flat out lied about my behavior at work, stating I acted in ways throughout my employment that are simply not true. That said, if he can convince my former employer or anyone else that his side of things is true...essentially tell himself he is right until he wholly believes I in trouble? As mentioned, he was gainfully employed at the place we both worked at for at least 3 weeks if not longer after I was gone. I would think if my actions contributed to things, he would have been let go immediately. I just think that if he tries to prove I am false, that day's events will come up, and with a witness on my side, he will either stick to his lies, or be shown to have fabricated his story, at which point, I would hope things are dismissed.

The paperwork is at my house, but essentially he is suing for defamation of name, reputation, lost contacts, lost business, lost income, emotional distress, pain and suffering, being unable to get work. Same claims for a slander charge as for a separate count of libel.

The site I posted to is free and anyone can post. They refuse to take anything down, though the summons states they are seeking for me to take down the comments. The site will not allow this, as I did try well before all of this to remove what I said. They won't even let you edit what you wrote. The only option is to rebute the statement, which I can't even do at this point, as that account was tied to an older email account I no longer have access to. The point though is that he could have rebuted this and essentially called me a liar on that forum if he so chose. He did nothing.

Expert:  JuliaCB replied 8 years ago.
Here it [email protected] It was in the last response with my phone number.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Ah...sorry...didn't see it. Thanks!
Expert:  JuliaCB replied 8 years ago.
No problem. I'm on line now if you send it. I can look at it now.