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How do you go about filing a slander suit, Montana, no, such

Customer Question
how do you go about...
how do you go about filing a slander suit
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state you're in?
Customer: Montana
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else you think the lawyer should know?
Customer: such as: calling someone unfit because of a mental disability in front of other people. Or belittling someone in front of others
Submitted: 1 year ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 13 minutes by:
8/19/2016
Lawyer: RobertJDFL, Attorney replied 1 year ago
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 14,213
Experience: Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Thank you for using Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney. I look forward to helping you.

Proving defamation (either slander, which is spoken, or libel, which is anything in print) generally requires a plaintiff proving several elements:

1) That the defendant intentionally or negligently made a false statement or statements about the plaintiff
2) To a third person or persons

3) Which resulted in damages to that person

Truth is a defense to defamation. So, for example, calling someone a drug user, if they really do use drugs, isn't defamatory, even a person is harmed by the statements. Opinion statements are also generally protected as free speech. So, someone saying something like "If Bill wasn't so lazy on the job, I wouldn't have to do his work" also is not defamation. Therefore it really depends on what was said -there's not enough here to know if what was said would be defamatory or not. The other issue is proving damages. Even if a person has something negative said about them, unless they can prove actual harm from the statement(s), a defamation claim generally will not be successful. There are some limited exceptions where damages are presumed -e.g., accusing someone of having a loathsome disease or of committing a criminal act is considered "Defamation per se" and damages are presumed.

As far as how to file a defamation case --a Plaintiff actually has to file a civil complaint -a lawsuit -against the offending party/parties. There is no generic form for this -it's something that has to be specifically drafted. No lawyer can tell you how to do that, it's something we go to law school for years to learn and then spend years (if not our careers) mastering the craft of. You may be able to go to a law library and do the research and draft a complaint yourself, but a plaintiff would be far better off hiring an attorney to represent them. That's not a dig on your intelligence or skills, mind you, but just as a person who is not a surgeon should not operate on themselves, a person who has not been trained as a lawyer should not attempt doing this on their own.

Please remember to kindly leave a positive rating for me by clicking on the stars, as that is the only way experts are paid for their time even though you may have already paid a deposit to the site. Follow-up questions asked in this thread do not cost anything additional after leaving a positive rating.

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Category: Legal
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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.

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