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Can I be sued for Internet defamation?

Plano, TX |
Filed under: Lawsuits and disputes

I recently loaned money to a person who promised to pay me back. I never received the money and am suing that person. In anger I created a blog with that person's name and complained that the person is a con and fraud and posted his family members names on it. The blog was taken down within 24 hours and the person I wrote it about is aware of that. Can this person sue me for defamation? I wrote that he lied about a death to con me, if he can't prove the date of that death will that protect me? I dont know if that person actually died or not. I have lost a great deal of money from this loan and am in the process of suing to get it back. Can this person sue me and win?

Attorney Answers 3


Anyone can sue anyone for anything. Defamation requires communication of provably false fact that causes damage, and it seems unlikely that very many people, if any, would stumble on your blog in those 24 hours to see these statements.

Here it sounds like you made statements you weren't sure were true or not, but I'm not sure what the date of death of the relative has to do with your statements. Allegededly defamatory statements have to be analyzed individually.

PLEASE READ THIS BEFORE YOU COMMENT, EMAIL ME OR PHONE ME. I'm only licensed in CA. This answer doesn't make me your lawyer, and neither do follow-up comments and/or emails and/or phone calls, and you shouldn't expect me to respond to your further questions if you haven't hired me. We need an actual agreement confirmed in writing before any attorney-client relationship is formed. This answer doesn't constitute legal advice, and shouldn't be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.

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Was the blog taken down by you? If it was taken down by your provider, (making logical inferences from the information you've given) it is possible that what you wrote was sufficiently offensive and false that they could sue you for defamation. Whether they'd win is another story. Presumably in any libel case for this, the substantive facts about his loan would come up, possibly prejudicing his position in the case involving the loan/fraud. This cuts both ways -- it could affect your position as well. So from that standpoint, it is probably a good thing the blog is not up there anymore.

Of course if you took it down yourself after 24 hours, that puts you in a better position to defend against any case (by limiting the possible number of people who could have seen it, and thus the harm to his reputation).

Finally, I'd add that the likelihood of being sued by a person who you had to loan money to, and who refuses to pay it back is pretty minimal, in that they likely don't have the resources to prosecute such a case. Lawsuits are expensive, and defamation suits are particularly expensive. Further information would help to clarify your potential exposure on this; but that being said if you are currently involved in suing someone over this, you should be consulting with your hired attorney -- not the internet.

The author is a Maryland attorney; however no answer given on Avvo is intended as legal advice or intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

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Every state has its own tort laws, and California law and whatever other state's laws may be different than Texas, so you need to consult with a lawer licensed in Texas about the specifics of your case. Generally, the other posters are correct when they tell you that anyone can sue anyone for anything. Winning is another story. In Texas, the despairaging comments have to be published to other people and the comments have to be false. Some claims require the plaintiff to suffer actual damages caused by the comments, but some claims do not, all depending on what exactly was said.

Since you are already suing the person, he could easily bring the claims in the same lawsuit as a counterclaim against you.

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