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Can I be sued for slander for true statements?

Stanhope, NJ |

An individual I know has threatened to sue me for slander if I say anything to ANY people in our chosen career field about misdeeds she has done to me and her own work ethic (ie whether or not she is to be trusted with a project). I do not endorse her and I actively recommend people do not work with her based on my observations during the past few years, not just the horrible personal thing she's just recently done to me. Can she sue me successfully for truthfully telling people verbally A) What she did to me (most of these people are my friends and ask about my personal life!) and B) that I do not recommend working with her because of observations I've made?

Sorry for it being so vague. Looking for answers, do not want to walk on eggshells.

Attorney Answers 4

  1. The short answer is, "no." Truth is an affirmative defense to a claim of defamation. The longer answer is that whether or not your statements were truthful will be a determination for a judge or jury. Litigation in defamation claims can also be VERY expensive and drag on for YEARS. Keep this in mind when making statements about someone who has threatened litigation. Good luck!

    This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. To get legal advice, consult an attorney in your local area or the area where the issue is located. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response is based on the limited facts provided, and without any independent investigation of the author. Given additional or different facts, the response would likely change. The attorney providing this response is licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and you should contact an attorney in your jurisdiction if it is outside those jurisdictions.

  2. Truth is an absolute defense to a defamation claim (regardless whether it Is called libel or slander). As my colleague points out, though, truth is determined not by you but by a jury or, in the case of a bench trial, a judge. Unless you have a burning desire to spend a lot of money on an attorney, which is a noble thought, remember that discretion is the better part of valor.

    A response to a question posted on Avvo is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. It is informational only. Allan E. Richardson, Esq. Richardson, Galella & Austermuhl 142 Emerson ST., Woodbury, NJ 08096 856-579-7045.

  3. Yes, of course you can be sued for true statements. . Anyone can be sued for anything.

    The real question is whether you can be SUCCESSFULLY sued -- and that depends on the quality of your proof. For sure you can be forced to defend against an expensive and long-lasting legal action. And an important point: "truth" in legal contexts is relative. Something isn't "true" just because you believe it.

    No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. Send me an email to schedule a paid Consultation for that kind of information, direction, and assistance. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.

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