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Motivated by marital jealousy, a person committed a number

of harassing acts against my...
Motivated by marital jealousy, a person committed a number of harassing acts against my friend recently. These included smearing her by writing false student evaluations online on ratemyprofessors.com, though this person has never been my friend's student. She also sent degrading and rude emails about her to her husband and her daughter, insinuating adultery and claiming that my friend is mentally ill. These are merely the acts that my friend knows about and can prove. She's worried that she is being defamed behind her back. What kind of protection can my friend expect from the legal system?
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
5/29/2013
Richard
Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 55,806
Experience: Attorney with 29 years of experience.
Verified
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good afternoon. It is likely she has a cause of action for defamation. Let me explain what defamation is and then she can make the determination whether or not it is something she wishes to pursue. I
am going to provide you information on both slander and libel since they are so
closely related and so often confused with each other. They are civil injuries
that harm reputation, cause a reduction in respect, regard or confidence, or
cause disparaging, hostile or disagreeable opinions or feelings against an
individual or entity. The laws regarding libel and slander are the same. To
prevail in a defamation suit for libel or slander and recover damages, a person
("Person A") must prove 4 things: (i) another person ("Person B") conveyed a
defamatory message they knew or should have known to be false; (ii) the
material was published (i.e., conveyed to someone other than Person A); (iii)
Person A can be identified as the person referred to in the defamatory material; and (iv) Person A suffered an injury to Person A's reputation as a result of the communication.
Typically, before actually filing the suit, you would send them a letter detailing the situation and demanding that they: i) retract all prior defamatory statements made, and ii) cease and desist from making any in the future. The letter usually resolves the issue because people hate to get sued. If you need a template for a letter, let me know.




Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which will be helpful to you. If I have not fully addressed your questions or if you have any follow up questions, or if I have misinterpreted your questions in any way, please do not rate me yet, but simply ask a follow up question without rating so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer. If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service with 3, 4, or 5 faces/stars so I can receive credit for helping you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thank you for the response. Would sending a cease and desist request require a lawyer's help? How much does it cost, typically?

You're welcome. You can send the letter yourself without the aid of an attorney....letting them know if they do not retract and cease and desist you will be engaging a lawyer to file the suit. A lawyer would typically charge you about an hour's fee to draft and mail the letter. I will be happy to provide you one if you'd like for no additional charge. :)
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

I'd appreciate a referral if it costs up to $100/hr

Under my terms of service with JustAnswer, I'm not allowed to make a specific recommendation, but I can give you direction. You would want to either contact the state bar association or your nearest law school for a referral. I prefer the latter because they take great pride in their graduates and will take a more personal interest in making sure your referral is a good one because it will be a reflection of the school.

I have provided you a template below which you can use for no additional charge other than the initial cost of this question. :)







Date
_________________
_________________
_________________

Re: Notice to Cease and Desist Defamation
Dear _______________:
The purpose of this letter to is to put you on notice of potential legal action against you for the unwarranted and defamatory attacks and lies made by you in an attempt to ruin and damage my reputation. Your baseless and unwarranted actions and accusations have damaged my business reputation and caused serious and irreparable injury to both my reputation and my business. I will not stand by and allow this misconduct to continue.
I hereby demand that you immediately: i) retract any and all defamatory and disparaging remarks about me made by you; and ii) cease and desist in publishing or stating any defamatory statements about me.
I am not in any way attempting to restrict legitimate free speech, but your activities unlawfully encroach upon both my business and my reputation. This letter puts you on formal notice that should you refuse to comply with my demands immediately, I will have no choice but to pursue all legal causes of action, including the filing of a lawsuit, to protect my interests. I will pursue both actual and punitive damages plus attorneys’ fees and costs incurred as a result of your actions.
This is a very serious matter that requires your immediate attention. I have no sense of humor about your actions. This letter is the only one you will receive and the only chance you have to resolve this matter amicably.
Sincerely,

[Your Name]


Richard
Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 55,806
Experience: Attorney with 29 years of experience.
Verified
Richard and 87 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
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Thanks so much for the positive rating and the generous bonus! I appreciate your kindness and the opportunity to serve you! If I can be of assistance to you in the future, just look me up and I will be happy to help!
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Richard
Richard
Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 55,806
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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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