Skip to main content
Edward C. Hopkins Jr.

Edward Hopkins’s Answers

180 total


  • What can be done when someone publicly defames you and your character and I have proof(written)?

    Harrassment and defamation of character by a former teammate via Internet and Facebook slander.

    Edward’s Answer

    If someone intentionally published false and derogatory statements about you via Facebook, they violated Facebook's terms of service and defamed you. Depending on the reasons why the person defamed you, the nature of the information disclosed via the defamatory statements, your relationship and history with the person who defamed you, and the extent of the emotional distress you suffered, the person who defamed might have done things that could give rise to legal claims other than defamation.

    If you and the person who defamed you live in Colorado, Colorado's defamation law will likely determine the type of defamation claims you have and the types of defenses the person who defamed you has. If the person who defamed you lives in another state, Colorado's defamation law might not apply.

    In Colorado, there is a one-year statute of limitations for defamation claims. Generally, you must sue someone for defamation no later than one year after the defamation was published via the Internet.

    If you have suffered enough harm to justify the expense of obtaining legal advice, having a defamation lawyer write a letter for you, or suing the person who defamed you, then you should schedule an appointment with an attorney who has litigated Internet defamation claims. That attorney will be able to

    - review your evidence,
    - explain the law,
    - explain whether Colorado's law or another's state's law will apply to your claims,
    - explain personal jurisdiction law if necessary,
    - explain why you will not be able to hold Facebook accountable for defamatory statements someone else published,
    - help you estimate your damages,
    - explain your legal options, and
    - advise you on which course of action will most likely help you achieve your goals.

    See question 
  • I was to sue my ex-wife for making false statement to the AZ medical board and to the Vancouver police department in Canada.

    I continue to deal with an ex-wife and her attempts to ruin my personal and professional relationship. I divorced her and the decree went through in March/Aril 2015. Our assets have been dividing and she no longer receives spousal maintenance. ...

    Edward’s Answer

    Well-briefed trial court judges in Maricopa Superior Court would likely rule the defamatory statements your ex-wife published to the AZ Medical Board were matters of public concern or were subject to a qualified privilege. Therefore, were you to sue her for the damages arising from the harm those statements caused, you would likely have to prove by clear and convincing evidence: "At the time the statement was made, said, or written, [Name of Defendant] knew that the statement was false or acted in reckless disregard of whether the statement was true or false." See REVISED ARIZONA JURY INSTRUCTIONS (CIVIL), 5TH, Defamation 1A and 4A (http://www.azbar.org/media/1032517/defamation2015.pdf).

    If you call or meet with an attorney to discuss your options, ask him or her to analyze whether you have evidence that would support bringing an abuse of process claim.

    Also ask if you have enough evidence to prove a claim brought under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act or the Arizona Organized Crime, Fraud and Terrorism Act. If your wife threatened to defame you and she obtained something of value from you as a direct result of the threat, she probably violated federal or state extortion laws. If she violated federal or state extortion laws as part of a scheme to obtain money or something else of value from you, you might have grounds to bring a Civil RICO action against her.

    Finally, ask the attorney you consult to explain whether personal jurisdiction laws could prevent you from litigating your claims in Arizona.

    See question 
  • CAN I SUE THE NEWS ?

    I WAS RECENTLY A VICTEM /WITNESS OF A VERY TRAUMATIC MURDER AND DISMEMBERMENT OF MY EX BOYFRIENDS BODY SEVERAL DEATH THREATS WERE MADE AGAINST ME AND I HAD TO GO INTO HIDDING DUE TO THE FACT THAT CHANNEL 7 NEWS REPORTED AND PUBLISHED MY NAME IN TH...

    Edward’s Answer

    If any of the private information the news company published about you was available in police records, then it is unlikely you will have a viable invasion of privacy claim against the news company for publishing it. But if the news company published false and derogatory statements about you that were not corroborated by a reliable source, you could have a viable defamation claim. You could also have a viable intentional infliction of emotional distress claim if there is very strong evidence the news company knew or should have known people would threaten to harm you if your name or private information were disclosed to the public at large (rather than the small percentage of people who know how to and would bother to access public records) via their mass media broadcasts or Internet publications.

    You will need to consult an experienced plaintiffs' defamation or privacy attorney to determine if you have any viable claims worth prosecuting. Bear in mind that the top news companies, thanks to their wealth or insurance policies, tend to hire the best media defense lawyers money can buy to aggressively protect them against defamation and invasion of privacy lawsuits, even the meritorious ones. These news companies also benefit from constitutional protections that were originally designed to protect brave journalists from powerful people and entities who wanted to keep the public from learning the truth. Today, those constitutional protections are more likely to serve an ignoble purpose: protecting incompetent, politically-biased, unethical, or irresponsible journalists.

    An experienced plaintiffs' defamation or privacy attorney who has litigated against the firms that protect news companies whether they are right or wrong should be able to evaluate your evidence, explain the law, and advise you about your legal options.

    See question 
  • Where to file defamation suit?

    If I live in Colorado and someone put information online and they live in California where do I sue for defamation? In what state?

    Edward’s Answer

    If you have a viable defamation claim against someone who lives in California, you may sue the person in California. Whether you have the option to sue a California resident in Colorado will depend on whether there is evidence that proves state or federal Colorado courts may exercise personal jurisdiction over the California resident. An experienced Colorado defamation attorney should be able to help you determine if you may initiate a defamation lawsuit against a California resident in a Colorado court that will survive a motion to dismiss.

    See question 
  • Isn't this illegal? Are there any civil liabilities?

    Ex boyfriend hacked into my Verizon wireless account not a joint account and without permission. Somehow he printed off complete text conversations I had with other people. He is threatening me with them

    Edward’s Answer

    COMMON LAW CLAIMS

    If your ex-boyfriend intentionally accessed and took information from your account or phone and knew he was not authorized to do so, he probably violated your privacy rights. You may have a viable invasion of privacy by intrusion claim. You may also have a viable intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. You may be able to sue him in civil court for damages if you have a viable invasion of privacy or intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. There is a two-year statute of limitations for these claims.

    STATUTORY CLAIMS

    Your ex-boyfriend probably violated Arizona's computer tampering law, A.R.S. § 13-2316, if he accessed your account or phone without your authorization. If he also threatened to use the information he obtained without your authorization to harm your reputation or cause you economic damages, he could have violated Arizona's extortion law, A.R.S. § 13-1804. Depending on how many times he violated Arizona's criminal statutes in his effort to extort or blackmail you, his conduct could be considered illegal control of an enterprise through racketeering activity. He could have violated the Arizona Organized Crime, Fraud and Terrorism Act, A.R.S. §§ 13-2301 et seq. If he violated the Arizona Organized Crime, Fraud and Terrorism Act, there may be a civil remedy available to you under A.R.S. § 13-2314.

    NEXT STEPS

    Contact your local law enforcement agency and tell someone there what your ex-boyfriend did and what he is threatening to do to you. Try to provide as much evidence as you can. If no law enforcement agency assists you, contact a plaintiffs' privacy lawyer who is licensed to practice in Arizona. An Arizona privacy lawyer will review your evidence, explain the relevant law, and advise you on your legal options.

    See question 
  • Church Pastor and Board of Deacons sharing my personal sex life with the Church and discriminating against me and my spouse.

    In November 2014 my wife and children were going to a rural church in Missouri. We were in marital discontentment and met with Pastor for counseling. after several counseling visits he then disclosed our private sex life/my sexual orientation and...

    Edward’s Answer

    You could have false light, public disclosure of private facts, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of confidentiality, or breach of fiduciary duty claims against your former church's religious leaders. Depending on the promises the church's religious leaders made to you before you confided in them, you might even have a viable fraud or negligent misrepresentation claim. You should contact an invasion of privacy or dignitary tort attorney in Missouri. If you can find one, look for a Missouri attorney who is familiar with the First Amendment's Religion clauses, a common law doctrine called the "ministerial exception," and Missouri statutes regarding privileged communications with religious counselors. An attorney familiar with the relevant law should be able to review your evidence, explain the law, and explain your options.

    See question 
  • Should I sue a student for slandering me on a radio talk show?

    A student of mine at my college went on radio talk show and slandered me. I have 71 other students who can dispute her lies. I received a death threat as a result of the show. I can't go on campus for fear for other students. Other parents who hea...

    Edward’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    If the student only expressed her opinion of you and did not make any statements you can prove are false, then you probably don't have a viable defamation claim. But if the student made provably false and derogatory statements about you and her statements caused others to have a lowered opinion of you then you were defamed. If the statements concerned your teaching services, then the statements could have also given rise to an injurious falsehood (aka trade libel) claim.

    The student's statements could be subject to First Amendment protections or qualified privileges. If her statements are subject to those protections or privileges then you will have to prove by clear and convincing evidence (1) her statements were false and (2) she either knew they were false or recklessly disregarded whether they were true or false when she made them.

    There is a one-year statute of limitations for defamation claims in Colorado. There is case law holding a two-year statute of limitations applies to injurious falsehood (aka trade libel) claims. You should schedule an consultation with an attorney who has experience litigating actual malice defamation claims soon if you are seriously considering taking legal action.

    A defamation attorney will need to review your evidence to give you good legal advice about your chances of winning a defamation or trade libel lawsuit and how much it would cost you to litigate it. If you schedule a consultation with an attorney be sure to get answers to the following questions:

    1) Are my defamation claims defamation per quod or defamation per se claims and what is the difference?

    2) Are my defamation claims negligent defamation claims or actual malice defamation claims and what is the difference?

    3) What elements would I need to prove to win an actual malice defamation per se claim?

    4) Is my evidence strong enough to prove an actual malice defamation per se claim?

    5) Would I need to retain expert witnesses to increase the likelihood that I will prove an actual malice defamation per se claim?

    6) What types of experts could help me prove an actual malice defamation per se claim?

    7) Approximately how much would your firm charge me to litigate an actual malice defamation per se claim under the following three scenarios:

    a) the case settles before discovery begins;

    b) the case is resolved after a motion for summary judgment is litigated; or

    c) the case goes to trial?

    See question 
  • What are the laws on revenge porn?

    My sisters husband posted a bunch of her naked photos and videos on the website wifelovers.com after they had a major fight. He told he he did it because she is mean and unloving. what can she legally do. she already contacted the site to see if t...

    Edward’s Answer

    If your sister and her husband live in Colorado, Colorado's revenge porn statutes could apply. The statutes are C.R.S. § 18-7-107 "Posting a private image for harassment" and C.R.S. § 18-7-108 "Posting a private image for pecuniary gain."

    The facts you describe could make the husband subject to the criminal and civil penalties in C.R.S. § 18-7-107. The website through which the husband published the pictures might be persuaded that he violated the website's terms of use by publishing the pictures in violation of C.R.S. § 18-7-107. The website might also be persuaded that upon receiving notice of the husband's violation, it could aid and abet his unlawful and criminal conduct if it does not immediately delete the pictures.

    Your sister should contact a Colorado lawyer who has experience litigating invasion of privacy claims and can explain the legal options C.R.S. § 18-7-107 provides her. Your sister might also want to contact law enforcement to report the violation.

    See question 
  • I need to sue a few people for slander. Is this still being done?

    This is a very serious concern because we are all members of the same nonprofit organization and the problem is within the organization. We are high profile in the community. What else could I do (mediation?) How do I find the right mediator?...

    Edward’s Answer

    When someone slanders a fellow nonprofit member and the slander concerns the nonprofit's business, the person who made the slanderous statements will be entitled to a qualified privilege defense. Qualified privilege defenses make it more difficult for slander victims to win slander lawsuits. Also, depending on what the slanderous statements were, they will be slander per se or slander per quod. A defamation lawyer will be able to help you determine whether the statements were slander per se or slander per quod. If the statements were slander per quod, the slander victim must prove he or she suffered economic damages. Emotional distress damages, by themselves, will not be sufficient to prove a slander per quod claim in Arizona.

    See question 
  • What kind of lawyer/law practice would best represent a plaintiff in a defamation law suit?

    When a person wants to file a law suit for defamation of character that happened both verbally and in writing, where would one start to find a lawyer? For example, I don't think one would look for a criminal lawyer. What kind of lawyer/law pract...

    Edward’s Answer

    The State Bar of Arizona website allows you to search for Arizona lawyers by their focus or specialization. Visit the website at http://www.azbar.org and type "defamation" in the top right of the webpage under the "Find A Lawyer" section. Several Arizona lawyers who practice defamation will be listed in the results. Avvo.com also has a "Find a Lawyer" feature that you may use to search for Libel/Slander lawyers who practice in Maricopa County. Also consider asking your lawyer or entrepreneur friends if they know of Arizona defamation lawyers they can recommend.

    Arizona has a one-year statute of limitations for defamation claims. Verbal defamation is slander. Written defamation is libel. To learn more about Arizona's defamation laws, you may read its civil jury instructions for defamation, which is available online at the following webpage:

    http://www.azbar.org/media/700258/defamation_2013.pdf

    See question