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I am a plaintiff for a defamation lawsuit in Circuit Civil…

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I am a plaintiff for...
I am a plaintiff for a defamation lawsuit in Circuit Civil Court in florida. In my Complaint I ask for damages in the amount of $100,000. so i got good news from my attorney that we got confirmation via subpeona identifying the defendants as the writers of the online defamatory statement. We got them on liability. here is my problem.
Now my attorney is trying to come to a sound compensatory damages amount. As a realtor my business and reputation was ruined bc of the defamatory statement online. the def. published this defamatory publication in 2013. I got my realtor's license in 2012. In 2012 I only did rentals half the year and made about $4,000 and sold one home and made about the same. After the publication I became a certified shortsale agent but did not make much deals bc of the defamation. How can I then come up with a compensatory amount??? Can I estimate but with what measures?Also now that we got proof it was indeed the defendants can I up the amount I wrote in my Complaint from $100,000 to 500,000??
Submitted: 21 days ago.Category: Personal Injury Law
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Answered in 46 minutes by:
5/29/2018
Personal Injury Lawyer: Attorney Wendy, Attorney replied 21 days ago
Attorney Wendy
Attorney Wendy, Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 950
Experience: Member at Keefer & Keefer LLC
Verified

Hello. My name is ***** ***** I am an attorney. I will start trying to provide information with your last question first - regarding damages. That the defendants are now more clearly on the hook for liability does not legally change the damages figure. In other words, the damages to you should be the same whether it was the defendants or some other party engaging in the defamation; simply because you can now prove liability does not increase the damages. That being said, if you actually have additional information on which you can justify a claim for higher damages, you would likely need to ask your attorney to amend the complaint to change that figure and/or to file a motion at trial for the pleadings to conform to the evidence presented (likely a more risky approach should this motion be denied, as courts prefer everyone have notice of what is being claimed). You may want to speak with your attorney about the possibility of mediation - a process by which a neutral third party mediator tries to find a way for you to settle this case with the defendants without a trial. The possible benefit for you in mediation is that in mediation parties can agree to some things that are not available in a trial (e.g., an online retraction by defendants of their statements; an apology by the defendants, possibly to be posted wherever the defamatory statements were posted, etc.) At trial, only money damages and injunctions (orders to stop posting) are generally available.

Since the defamatory statements related to your profession/business, the good news is that it amounts to what the law identifies as defamation per se. This means that both malice and that you were injured are presumed. Thus, you need not show specific damages as it is presumed that general damage occurs when defamatory statements are made about one's profession. That does not mean you do not want to try to figure what damages you should receive. With a more established business you may be able to do that by showing past year's averages and then showing a decrease following the defamatory statements. Here, you have less of a business history on which to build, so it may be worth looking at area averages for those in your industry and comparing those averages with what you've actually been able to do in spite of the defamation. Also, any funds you put into building your business, classes, certification exams, licensing fees, etc. Estimates will be necessary in terms of lost business opportunity and/or lost profits given the newness of the business; on the flip side, and you will want to speak with your attorney about any of this as that attorney is in a better position to evaluate your case, you may be able to argue that being subjected to this defamation so early in your career created even greater injury as you are now in the position of trying to build a new business in the face of this negative situation.

I hope this information is helpful. If you need additional assistance, feel free to reply to this email. If I answered your question and provided excellent service, I would greatly appreciate your 5 star rating at this time.

​Please note: This information is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No course of action is being proposed and no attorney-client relationship or privilege has been formed as a result of this conversation.

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Customer reply replied 20 days ago
i understand that settlement is always the best course. my main issue is do i need to prove money potentially lost in order to win my compensatory damages? My attorney stated I need an expert witness?
Do you know what kind of expert in my case as a realtor can speak about my damage amount??
Personal Injury Lawyer: Attorney Wendy, Attorney replied 20 days ago

I would expect a realtor who has extensive experience, particularly in short sales and knows the market and average sales numbers of realtors in your area with experience similar to yours. Because damage is presumed, you should not have to prove it as clearly as in some other defamation cases, but you will want some way to explain why you are asking for a particular amount. When the law says general damage is presumed, you do still want to have a way to calculate the damage - the expert provides that methodology.

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Customer reply replied 20 days ago
do you think my broker would suffice as a good expert witness
Personal Injury Lawyer: Attorney Wendy, Attorney replied 20 days ago

Possibly. You would want to review the expert witness requirements with your attorney to see if the broker fits the bill. You want to be sure the expert can be qualified by the court - usually a look at years of experience, educational, sometimes whether the person has ever testified as an expert before (though obviously there has to be a first time).

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Personal Injury Lawyer: Attorney Wendy, Attorney replied 17 days ago

Just checking to see if you need any additional assistance.

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