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RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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How do you go about filing a slander suit, Montana, no, such

Customer Question

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: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 11 months ago.

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.

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