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Richard, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 55598
Experience:  Attorney with 29 years of experience.
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Last year in October 2012 my husband (not a contractor just

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Last year in October 2012 my husband (not a contractor just a nice guy who helps older people who can't do physical things) cut 2 tree limbs down for a man and the man paid him 60 dollars cash, then May of this year the man started harassing us wanting his 60 dollars back and saying he wanted his trees cut further back. We ignored him. then a month later he went to my husbands work and harassed my husband and called the house phone leaving a long threatening message. I called our local police twice. They called the man telling him to stop harassing us. the very next day he went to my husbands work again asking for our address. he was seen many times by our house on our street. he left a message saying my husband damaged his siding and a bench when he cut down the tree limbs last year. my husband has no idea what this man is talking about, if something was damaged last year (by the way the guy was standing right there when the limbs were cut down) why wait all these months later to say something. the man is now going to small claims court against us. My husband did not damage any property of this man. It was the mans tree that damaged his property, my husband was just being a nice guy to help. what's the chances of him winning this? He wants 500 dollars in damages. Thanks
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good evening. Although you unfortunately cannot prevent someone from filing a small claims case against you, this guy has no chance of winning. The burden is going to be on him to prove that your husband's actions were negligent and caused the damage. Given the facts, the time delay, and the fact that the man not only paid him thereby completing the transaction and made no claim at the time, the man will simply not prevail. You might want to let the man know he has some stake in this by filing a counter claim against the man for defamation. . Let me explain what defamation is and then you can make the determination whether or not it is something you wish 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. This may cause him to re-think whether or not he really wants to go through with this.

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