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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 12801
Experience:  Attorney with significant personal injury experience
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We rent out cabins on our ranch to guest from surrounding

Customer Question

We rent out cabins on our ranch to guest from surrounding area. They stay on ranch to enjoy peace and quite, the animals, hot tub our beautiful cabins and the thing they can do in Arbuckle Mountains. The problem is we had people stay that had 4 extra people and a dog more than they paid for. They did tell us about dog but credit card would not pass. So was to collect $20, I went up to do so and talked to them and ended up not asking for because thought I'd give them a break. Later that night I saw many people in the sallowest of the open door and a window. It was after dark we were feeding goats below house and laughing (husband and myself) because of the way a women was laughing. That when we saw many people. It was 90 degrees still, we were going through a very hot period. 100degrees during day. I went up just to ask them to close door, air conditioner was working hard and had just had a air conditioner worked on. Just said it works better if door is closed. It was one of the rules we have is to keep doors and windows closed when air or heat is on. Trash was all over yard. I did say I was hell on trash. They told me that all that was there was 3 women and two children. Next day many people came out of house getting ready to go home. I was watering trees so I saw them. I went over and asked how many people, they then said there was 8. I did say I hate being lied too. I asked for additional $40. Which was still $40 less.
JA: OK. To minimize me, please click the down arrow at the top right corner of this box.
Customer: Sorry spill check put in sallowest instead of silhouette. Anyway they wrote on line our house was dirty, had cockroach's, I hated kids, cow patties all over yard, didn't want people to drink beer and have fun, went up shaking my finger and calling them a liar, telling them how much my electric bill was and wanted them to turn off air and that I was spying on them. All these lies are going to hurt my business, they put it on our rental site. Do I have grounds for lawsuit?
JA: What state are you in? And can you tell me a little more about the situation driving this?
Customer: We are in Oklahoma. Not sure what you mean about situation driving this.
JA: Has anything been filed? If so, what?
Customer: No filing, Just what she put on VRBO. Vacation Rental By Owner. This will really slow down or stop rentals.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Can't think of anything. Thanks
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Personal Injury Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** it will be my pleasure to assist you. Please just give me a moment to review your question....

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

I'm very sorry to hear about this.

In practice, defamation lawsuits against individuals are almost never wise to bring. They aren't claims that would typically be covered by any sort of insurance policy, which means that any judgment you win will need to be collected from the personal assets of the people you are suing. Most people don't have money to pay any judgment that would be worth your time to pursue in court, which means that you will likely go through all the time and expense of a lawsuit for nothing.

The other issue with defamation suits is that truth is an absolute defense. The negative publicity you've received so far is prompting your desire to sue, but a lawsuit will make that ten times worse as you will now how to prove in open court (part of the public record) that there aren't cow patties all over your yard, that you don't have cockroaches, etc. Read about the Streisand Effect for more information about how harmful and counterproductive a defamation suit can be.

The third issue is that defamation claims are limited to false statements of fact. Statements of opinion, no matter how undesirable, are always going to be protected. So, the statements about how you "hate kids," had a "dirty" house, and that you don't want people to have fun are probably not actionable no matter how untrue they may be. They are statements of opinion--matters that are subjective--and thus not actionable on any legal theory.

Now, this doesn't mean that you can't threaten a defamation suit. These people have little to gain from leaving up their review, and so a cease and desist letter from a local attorney may scare them into taking their review down. It will cost you about $300-500 to get a local attorney to write such a letter, and there is no guarantee it will produce results since you are essentially bluffing to scare them, but very often this sort of letter has the intended effect.

You can also contact the review site and explain that the review is false and should be removed. If you can prove to the review site that there are factual inaccuracies in the review, many such sites will force the poster to take it down or modify it.

These would typically be your remedies under the circumstances you have described.

If I can clarify anything at all for you, please do not hesitate to ask. It is my pleasure to assist you further if necessary....