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Edward C. Hopkins Jr.
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Edward Hopkins’s Answers

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  • 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.

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  • 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:

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

    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.

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  • Is it illegal for a spouse to take private information from their significant others phone without their knowledge?

    Is it legal for my wife to have taken my phone while I was sleeping and download all the content including Facebook conversations, texts, and emails without my consent or knowledge?

    Edward’s Answer

    If your wife knew you did not consent to her accessing and downloading the private information, her conduct could have been illegal. If your phone was password-protected, you never gave her the password, and she had to enter the password to access the information, it is more likely that her conduct was illegal.

    Review the following Arizona Revised Statutes to determine if you have facts that can prove she violated Arizona law.

    A.R.S. § 13-2316 - Computer tampering

    (Available at http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/13/02316.htm)

    A.R.S. § 13-2316.01 - Unlawful possession of access device

    (Available at http://www.azleg.gov/FormatDocument.asp?inDoc=/ars/13/02316-01.htm)

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  • A person is spreading lies and rumors about my family, is there any legal approach i can take?

    My wife had a Girlfriend that she knew for years, one night they went out together and ran into a friend of my wife's friend. That second new friend was out with her male cousins. With that said, one of the male cousins found my wife attractive , ...

    Edward’s Answer

    Based on the facts you provided, you and your wife could have viable false light invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, or slander per quod claims against the person who made these statements. Slander per quod is a form of defamation. Proving slander per quod requires proving that you incurred at least $1.00 in economic damages as a direct result of the slander or your reasonable efforts to mitigate the damages the slander caused you. Slander has a one year statute of limitations. False light invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress have two year statutes of limitations.

    If you have suffered enough harm to justify hiring an attorney and incurring legal expenses, schedule a consultation with an Arizona lawyer who has experience litigating defamation or invasion of privacy claims. The attorney will be able to evaluate your evidence, explain the law, explain your legal options, and give you advice about which course of action will likely be the most cost-effective way to achieve your objectives.

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  • What kind of lawyer do I need to remove pornographic pictures I am in from online?

    Unfortunately, I signed a waiver saying that this person who took the pictures could do this.

    Edward’s Answer

    The following answer presumes the pictures were uploaded less than two years ago and you were a legal adult when the pictures were taken. If you were a minor when the pictures were taken, contact law enforcement.

    Depending on the language in the waiver you signed, you could have a viable claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, or negligence per se. To determine if you have a viable claim for negligence per se, you should contact a Colorado privacy lawyer, show the lawyer the waiver agreement you signed, show the lawyer the pictures the person uploaded, provide evidence that the person made or is making money off of the pictures if you have any evidence, and ask the lawyer which legal remedies, if any, are available to you under the following Colorado revenge porn statute:

    Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) § 18-7-108. Posting a private image for pecuniary gain

    (1)
    (a) An actor who is eighteen years of age or older commits the offense of posting a private image for pecuniary gain if he or she posts or distributes through social media or any web site any photograph, video, or other image displaying the private intimate parts of an identified or identifiable person eighteen years of age or older: (I) With the intent to obtain a pecuniary benefit from any person as a result of the posting, viewing, or removal of the private image; and (II) (A) When the actor has not obtained the depicted person's consent; or (B) When the actor knew or should have known that the depicted person had a reasonable expectation that the image would remain private.

    (b) Posting a private image for pecuniary gain is a class 1 misdemeanor.

    (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 18-1.3-501 (1) (a), in addition to any other sentence the court may impose, the court shall fine the defendant up to ten thousand dollars. The fines collected pursuant to this paragraph (c) shall be credited to the crime victim compensation fund created in section 24-4.1-117, C.R.S.

    (2) It shall not be an offense under this section if the photograph, video, or image is related to a newsworthy event.

    (3) Nothing in this section precludes punishment under any section of law providing for greater punishment.

    (4)
    (a) An individual whose private intimate parts have been posted in accordance with this section may bring a civil action against the person who caused the posting of the private images and is entitled to injunctive relief, the greater of ten thousand dollars or actual damages incurred as a result of the posting of the private images, exemplary damages, and reasonable attorney fees and costs.
    (b) An individual whose private intimate parts have been posted in accordance with this section shall retain a protectable right of authorship regarding the commercial use of the private image.

    (5) Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose liability on the provider of an interactive computer service, as defined in 47 U.S.C. sec. 230 (f) (2), an information service, as defined in 47 U.S.C. sec. 153, or a telecommunications service, as defined in 47 U.S.C. sec. 153, for content provided by another person.

    (6) For purposes of this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
    (a) "Newsworthy event" means a matter of public interest, of public concern, or related to a public figure who is intimately involved in the resolution of important public questions or, by reason of his or her fame, shapes events in areas of concern to society.

    (b) "Private intimate parts" means external genitalia or the perineum or the anus or the pubes of any person or the breast of a female.

    (c) "Social media" means any electronic medium, including an interactive computer service, telephone network, or data network, that allows users to create, share, and view user-generated content, including but not limited to videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant messages, electronic mail, or internet web site profiles.

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  • Reading of personal diary read by coworker, with pictures taken, and set up by another employee. Do I have any rights?

    My personal journal was at my desk and somehow it was brought out, read and pictures taken of pages, and spread around work. I also was subject to a rumor, that was used to set me up against other another prior employee. I have had my name and rep...

    Edward’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    You have a viable intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. You could have viable invasion of privacy claims for intrusion upon seclusion and public disclosure of private facts if the person who took your personal journal accessed it without your consent and disclosed its private contents to a lot of people. If someone made false and derogatory statements about you to others, you could have viable defamation claims too.

    If you are seriously considering taking legal action, schedule a consultation with an attorney who has experience litigating common law invasion of privacy claims. The lawyer will be able to evaluate your facts, explain the relevant law, estimate your damages, determine who can be held liable, and give you advice about your legal options.

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  • I need to find a lawyer for a lawsuit

    I want to know if anyone would sue cbs4 news and if I have a case please help me

    Edward’s Answer

    If CBS4 published provably false and derogatory statements about you or your business less than one year ago, then you could have a viable claim for defamation against (1) CBS4 or (2) the people who made false and derogatory statements about you to CBS4. A defamation attorney who has experience suing media companies must know much more about the facts to advise you competently. Schedule a consultation with an experienced Colorado defamation lawyer. He or she can analyze your facts, explain the law, estimate your damages, and advise you about your legal options.

    Winning defamation lawsuits against major media companies can be difficult. Their wealth levels and the libel insurance policies they purchase enable them to hire the best defamation defense law firms money can buy. Top defamation defense attorneys who protect major news media clients from being held accountable for publishing false or misleading statements to the public are skilled at what they do. News media companies are rarely held accountable in court for defamation.

    Experienced defamation attorneys look for near-irrefutable evidence that a news media corporation knowingly published false and derogatory statements about a prospective plaintiff before they advise the prospective plaintiff to sue the news media. It is often easier to win defamation lawsuits against people who give false statements to the news media that the news media then report to their readers, listeners, or viewers.

    When plaintiffs sue major Colorado news media companies, their defense lawyers will generally assert a myriad of defenses. These defenses serve as economic and legal barriers to plaintiffs because they must be litigated. Top Colorado news media defense lawyers often attempt to get defamation claims against their clients dismissed early. When they succeed, the Colorado trial courts that grant their motions to dismiss must also enter judgments against the plaintiffs who filed the defamation lawsuits. These judgments require the losing plaintiffs to pay the news media companies' reasonable attorneys' fees and court costs.

    Colorado's defamation law is overprotective of its major news media corporations when it comes to defamation claims. The looming threat that defamation claims against Colorado's major new media will be dismissed early and the plaintiffs will be forced to pay the news media corporations' attorneys' fees discourages people and businesses who lack the wealth to hold news media corporations accountable from suing them as often as they should be sued. Suing them more often would give them stronger economic incentives to make sure everything they publish or report is fair, balanced, and accurate. These stronger incentives to report the truth would help protect the public from being unduly influencing by false news reports, especially on the eve of political elections.

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  • Investigator journalist published false information with my family's info

    An author/investigator journalist published a book on a high profile murder and did not research the facts. There are lies about my family published and this guy has been making money and won awards. It is a book about a high profile murder with ...

    Edward’s Answer

    Colorado’s courts define the word defamatory in their jury instructions. “A statement is defamatory of a person if it tends to harm the person’s reputation by lowering the person in the estimation of at least a substantial and respectable minority of the community.” CJI-Civ 22:8.

    Schedule a consultation with a defamation attorney. The attorney will be able to evaluate your facts, explain the law, estimate your damages, and advise you about your legal options. There is a one year statute of limitations for Colorado defamation claims. If the book was published more than a year ago or you learned about it more than a year ago, there could still be viable defamation claims in states other than Colorado. If the book was sold in other states, such as New Mexico, inform the defamation attorney who meets with you. The attorney might advise you to contact a defamation attorney in a state where the book was sold that has a two-year or three-year statute of limitations for defamation claims.

    If you schedule a consultation with an attorney, ask him or her to explain the differences between private matter defamation claims and public matter (aka actual malice) defamation claims. It is likely that defamation claims based on a false statements published about a high profile murder will be public matter defamation claims. Public matter defamation claims have different elements, standards, and burdens of proof than private matter claims. They can be difficult to prove unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the person or company who published the defamatory statements knew the statements were false or recklessly disregarded whether they were true or false.

    If you meet with a defamation attorney, ask the attorney to help you determine if anyone might have other viable claims against the book's author or the publisher, such as intentional infliction of emotional distress or invasion of privacy.

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  • Is defamation, slander and libel a personal injury case?

    A prominent psychotherapist in my community has made false unsubstantiated comments about my character that have contributed to my losing my job. He has stated these both in emails sent to many parties and in public settings where many people were...

    Edward’s Answer

    Defamation cases are personal injury cases. See Barnett v. Denver Publ'g Co., Inc., 36 P.3d 145 (Colo. App. 2001) (explaining that defamation is "an injury to person or property occasioned by the tort of any other person" and therefore an award of attorney fees is appropriate under Colorado Revised Statutes Section 13-17-201 upon a dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b), Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure).

    If someone files a defamation lawsuit and it is dismissed early via a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff will have to pay the defendant's attorneys' fees and costs pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes Section 13-17-201. The statute states:

    In all actions brought as a result of a death or an injury to person or property occasioned by the tort of any other person, where any such action is dismissed on motion of the defendant prior to trial under rule 12 (b) of the Colorado rules of civil procedure, such defendant shall have judgment for his reasonable attorney fees in defending the action. This section shall not apply if a motion under rule 12 (b) of the Colorado rules of civil procedure is treated as a motion for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in rule 56 of the Colorado rules of civil procedure.

    As one of my colleagues remarked in his earlier response to this question: "defamation cases are complex and often expensive to pursue." It is important to meet with an attorney who has experience litigating defamation claims in Colorado if you want to get comprehensive advice. An experience defamation attorney will be able to evaluate your facts, explain the different types of defamation claims and the defenses to those claims, explain your legal options, and give you advice on which option will likely help you achieve your goals most cost effectively.

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  • Can buisness call the police and state you have people hemmed up in a room, knowing it's not true, to get you in trouble?

    This happened to me. I would like to know if there is anything I can do for closure

    Edward’s Answer

    If you have convincing evidence that the person knowingly lied about you when he or she called the police, you should contact the same police department and inform it that the person made a false report about you. It is illegal to knowingly make false reports to the police.

    If the person who called the police and falsely accused you of committing a crime (1) knew the accusation was false or (2) recklessly disregarded whether the statement was true or false, then the person defamed you. This type of defamation claim is called an actual malice defamation per se claim. See Lawson v. Stow, 2014 COA 26. The statute of limitations for such a claim is one year in Colorado.

    If you suffered enough economic or reputational harm to justify the expense of getting an attorney involved, you should schedule a consultation with a Colorado attorney who has experience litigating defamation claims for plaintiffs.

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