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Edward C. Hopkins Jr.
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Edward Hopkins’s Answers

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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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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