Skip to main content
Edward C. Hopkins Jr.

Edward Hopkins’s Answers

175 total

  • 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 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 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. 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:

    See question 
  • Can I sue my ex-husband for slander?

    My ex-husband has lied to our two daughters, and others in the community telling them that I am a drug addict / meth user. My 16 year old is completely alienated from me. My 18 year old contacted me the day after her 18th birthday, and I just lear...

    Edward’s Answer

    Your ex-husband's allegations that you used meth and are a drug addict are defamatory per se if you have never used any illegal drugs and you are not addicted to any drugs. There is a one-year statute of limitations for defamation claims in Arizona. If your ex-husband made these false allegation to your daughters and other third parties, and he made them during the past year, then you could have a viable claim for defamation in Arizona.

    If you estimate the reputational, emotional distress, quality of life, and financial harm you have suffered as a direct result of his defamatory statements during the past year are substantial enough to justify the expense of retaining an attorney to help you sue your ex-husband for damages, then you should schedule a consultation with an attorney who litigates defamation lawsuits in Arizona. The defamation attorney will be able to evaluate your evidence, help you estimate your damages, explain your legal options, and advise you about which option, if any, you should take. During your initial consultation, ask the attorney to explain if you may use any of the following theories to hold your ex-husband accountable: (1) defamation, (2) false light invasion of privacy, or (3) intentional infliction of emotional distress. Also ask the attorney to explain the affirmative defenses, including but not limited to the absolute or qualified privileges, that could apply if you sued your ex-husband using any of these theories.

    See question 
  • Can She Get In Trouble?

    My Friend Was Threatened By Some Guy To Send Pictures Of Herself Or He'd Do Things That Would Ruin Her Life Can She Get InTrouble? Can He Get In Trouble?

    Edward’s Answer

    If he lives in Colorado, the person who threatened your friend probably violated Colorado's criminal extortion statute. She should contact her local law enforcement agency and report the violation of Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-3-207(1). She should be prepared to hand over evidence, such as emails or text messages he sent her or voicemail recordings he left for her that prove he made the threat to harm her reputation if she refuses to send pictures of herself to him.

    Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-3-207(1) states:

    1) A person commits criminal extortion if:

    (a) The person, without legal authority and with the intent to induce another person against that other person's will to perform an act or to refrain from performing a lawful act, makes a substantial threat to confine or restrain, cause economic hardship or bodily injury to, or damage the property or reputation of, the threatened person or another person; and

    (b) The person threatens to cause the results described in paragraph (a) of this subsection (1) by:

    (I) Performing or causing an unlawful act to be performed; or

    (II) Invoking action by a third party, including but not limited to, the state or any of its political subdivisions, whose interests are not substantially related to the interests pursued by the person making the threat.

    The person who threatened your friend's reputation also took actions that could give rise to a civil claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. If law enforcement does not take action to help her stop the threats, she should contact a civil attorney to discuss her other options.

    See question 
  • What are my rights? Do I have a case for slander?

    I'm being accused of threatening a coworker with a knife and gun and my employer wants to pretend like it never happened. I'm being asked to apologize for these accusations and move on. I now have this on my record.

    Edward’s Answer

    You were defamed. Since you were accused of committing crimes, the defamation was defamation per se. In Arizona, there is a one-year statute of limitations for defamation actions.

    The fact that the false accusations are now in your employment record is evidence you suffered harm.

    A defamation or employment law attorney may be able to help you persuade your employer to conduct a reasonable investigation into the false accusations and to remove the false accusations from your record if the investigation shows the accusations were unfounded or false. There are other options you could consider, such as writing a letter to your employer that will demand your employer take reasonable steps to repair your reputation at work and dissuade your coworkers from harming your reputation further.

    If you have suffered substantial reputational, emotional, or financial harm, you should consult an Arizona defamation or employment attorney so he or she can evaluate your facts, explain the law, estimate your damages, explain your legal options, and advise you on which option, if any, you should take.

    See question 
  • Is there a law that protects you from people posting inappropriate and/or harassing photos/videos of you?

    My Roommates now exboy friend is trying to take her down with him. he has already posted pictures and is threatening more. Trying to take away any chance of a job when she finishes her contract. is there any law in CO that could help her in anyway?

    Edward’s Answer

    Colorado has criminal revenge porn and extortion laws that could prohibit the sort of conduct you describe. Depending on what the pictures/videos depict or reveal and where they were posted, posting the pictures could violate the website's terms of use policies. If your roommate took the pictures that her ex boyfriend posted and he did not obtain her consent to post the pictures, there could be copyright law violations.

    Depending on what the pictures/videos depict or reveal, posting the pictures/videos could also give rise to civil invasion of privacy claims for intrusion upon seclusion or public disclosure of private facts. In addition to those claims, posting the pictures for the purpose of harassing or extorting your roommate or preventing her from obtaining employment could give rise to civil claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress, intentional interference with economic prospects, or negligence.

    Your roommate should contact law enforcement if the pictures/videos depict her naked body or depict her performing sexual acts. If the ex boyfriend threatened to post more pictures unless your roommate gives him something, does something for him, or refrains from doing something she has a legal right to do, she should contact law enforcement to report the ex boyfriend's extortion.

    If your roommate has additional questions about the relevant law or wants to learn more about her legal options, she should schedule a consultation with an attorney.

    See question 
  • Is there any law that can protect me from a certain person saying slanderous things about me on the Internet and to others?

    For years I have been dealing with a certain person/ group of people that continue to say slanderous and simply outrageous things about me on the Internet and to others. Normally, I just deal with it but now I feel as though it has gone too far. I...

    Edward’s Answer

    There are laws on which you may rely to protect your reputational rights if someone has defamed you via the Internet. If you live in Arizona, you should read the Arizona jury instructions for defamation claims to learn more. You can find them here:

    Arizona defamation claims are subject to a one-year statute of limitations. On top of that, depending on who you are and what the defamatory statements were about, the person who defamed you could be protected by privileges or defenses that could make it very difficult to prove your defamation claims.

    Internet defamation claims are different from defamation claims that are not Internet-based. Issues related to personal jurisdiction and the Communications Decency Act (CDA) can complicate Internet defamation claims.

    If you have suffered enough emotional, reputational, or economic harm to justify hiring an experienced defamation lawyer to help you, you should schedule a consultation with one. A defamation lawyer will be able to evaluate your evidence, help you estimate your damages, explain the law, explain your legal options, and explain the costs associated with pursuing each option. If you speak with a defamation lawyer, be sure to ask about personal jurisdiction and the CDA. Also ask him or her if your evidence gives rise to other claims such as intentional interference with contracts, false light invasion of privacy, or negligence per se.

    See question