Can I be sued for libel over something I said in a text message?

Asked about 5 years ago - New York, NY

Can I be sued for statements I made in text messages? Would that qualify as libel and/or defamation of character?

In one message, I called someone "menacing" and a "scary stalker." (implying that they had committed the crime of stalking me when they have not.)

In a second message, I accused them of "menacing harassment" (implying that they were committing this crime when in fact they were not.)

In a third message, I accused that person of sending me explicit sexual text messages and sexually propositioning me over the past several months (when in fact, this person has not done so.)

If I could be sued for these statements, would the case be in the TX or NY courts? I am in NY and the person I sent the text messages to is in TX.

I know this person I made the statements to has no criminal history and is not actually harassing, menacing or stalking me in any way. They were just words spoken to a former girlfriend in the heat of an argument, and I was pretty mad because she has a new boyfriend now and was politely but firmly cutting me out of her life. Then, I got stupid and defensive and said some things I should'nt have said. She will not even speak to me now.

The former girlfriend took my statements very seriously! She consideres them libelous and defamatory. Her family & her mother also saw my text messages and asked her what the heck I was talking about!? And how dare I talk about her that way?

She is also concerned that I might be slandering her by saying these same types of untrue statements to mutual friends and colleagues (we're both in the same field of work and both very successful). What concerned her most was my comments implying that she is "loose" sexually. Being that she is an unmarried woman who is now dating someone else, and I falsely accused her of sending explicit sexual texts to me (she has not, btw). Basically she thinks I accused her of cheating on her boyfriend with me, which is not true.

I can see how my comments might harm her reputation and her career; after all, who would want to do business with a menacing, crazy stalker lady who sleeps around with anyone, right?

So can she sue me for this? Does she have a case for libel and defamation?

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Allan A Blank

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . Unless you made these statements to a third perso about her you cannot be sued. Libel or slander involves "publishing" the statement to a third person. Without that there is no damage to the person's reputation.

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.

 

Ask now

23,209 answers this week

2,699 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

23,209 answers this week

2,699 attorneys answering

Legal Dictionary

Don't speak legalese? We define thousands of terms in plain English.

Browse our legal dictionary