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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102601
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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I need help locating a lawyer and a private investigator.

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I need help locating a lawyer and a private investigator. I STRONGLY believe that I’m the victim of libelous and slanderous comments posted on the internet on a members only feminist website; but I have no proof. I am also looking for an internet savvy PI. I understand that this is hard to believe but this problem has persisted for several years and ignoring it won’t make it go away. This has greatly impacted my ability to get and retain jobs and had a hugely negative impact on my life. I’m trying to find an attorney to give me some idea what proof is necessary to win a lawsuit and make the website owner accountable for their actions. I also need to know what things the defendant can be sued for and what things (including criminal actions) may have already surpassed the statute of limitations. At least one of the potential defendants would be a large company and I believe that they would be responsive (to legal fees +) if it could be shown that many of their employees conspired to commit a criminal act. I do not have much money and the PI work would need to be done over time as funds allowed. The same could be said for the potential legal action unless the suit was done on contingency. I’m looking for instructions on finding the best lawyer and PI to do the afore mentioned work. I would also like to know how difficult it is to get a good attorney to take this case on contingency. Any other suggestions that would help me get to legally binding and permanent solution would also be welcomed. Sincerely XXXXX XXXXX
Hello, my name is Ely. Welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice; and (2) my function is to give you honest information and not necessarily to tell you what you wish to hear. Note: there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am very sorry for your situation. JustAnswer does not allow its experts to refer customers to specific attorneys/PIs out of ethical considerations.

However, I can explain how the process works and how such an individual may be tracked down using IP, and also, help you find counsel/PI via a third party - would this be acceptable?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes, this would be fine. Even though my description wasn't worded too clearly I'm not looking for a legal referal but rather a way for a layperson to identify the best lawyer and PI to help me. I'm really looking for steps to help me toward this end and tools to make the search more effective.




also, I'm happy to provide any other info I can.

Thank you.

First of all, let us discuss what DEFAMATION is. Slander is verbal defamation and Libel is written defamation - they are two sides of the same coin. Randall's Food Markets. v. Johnson, 891 S.W.2d 640, 646 (Tex.1995); Rogers v. Dallas Morning News, 889 S.W.2d 467, 472 (Tex.App.-Dallas 1994, writ denied)..

The elements of a defamation claim are
(1) The defendant published a statement;
(2) The statement was defamatory concerning the plaintiff;
(3) The defendant acted with negligence.
WFAA-TV, Inc. v. McLemore, 978 S.W.2d 568, 571 (Tex.1998).

Having said that, let us discuss how one find/confirms out who the actual culprit is. Postings online can be anonymous. However, not really. Every user leaves an IP trace. IP means Internet Protocol and is a way to identify someone.

What the Plaintiff can do is first file suit, and then subpoena the website owner for the IP of the user that left that remark. Most of the time, the owner will have these records. Once the IP is ascertained, it is still mostly a series of numbers, but the IP's Internet service provider (ISP) may be identified.

The Plaintiff then files a subpoena with the ISP to get the name and address of the individual whose IP matched up with the IPS's records.

Then the individual is named as Defendant in the suit via filing a Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint, is served, and the suit goes forward.

Some attorneys may agree to work with you on a contingency basis. May I recommend the Austin Lawyer Referral Program - here. The attorneys are vetted and qualified. You should be able to find an attorney you are confident with and whom you can trust, and who is available ASAP.

The PI is typically hired VIA the attorney, not before. Whether or not the PI agrees to work for free is unlikely, however, many do work on a payment plan and will work with you on payments and scheduling of them.

According to Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code sec. 16.002, Texas has a one year rule on statute of limitations for defamation.

However, unless this defamation was THREATENING in nature, no criminal act applies. If it was threatening, then REPLY and let me know, and we can touch base on this as well.

If the individual responsible for the defamation acted within the scope of their employment while doing so in any way, then the employer MAY BE held liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

Surely, you prefer that I tell the truth rather than what you wish to hear. Because it reflects very poorly on me unless you press one of the top three faces, keep this in mind when rating my and please do not punish me for being honest. I understand that this may not be easy to hear, and I empathize.

IMPORTANT: Please use REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces before submitting the rating, because this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects negatively on me as an expert, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. Do not worry, you may always ask follow ups free after rating. My ultimate goal is your complete satisfaction.
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