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Can I be sued in the state of california for libel for a post on Facebook when I live on Oklahoma?

Edmond, OK |

The plaintiff is my uncle and is suing me for a remark I made about my Uncles in general. I never said any specific names just when I posted it other than starting the post off with "Your Brothers" He lives in California and had me served in Oklahoma to appear in court in California. Does California have jurisdiction over me??

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This is a very fact specific question. In order for a state to have jurisdiction over you, your uncle would have to show that the court has personal jurisdiction. It depends on whether you meet a standard called minimum contacts. A facebook post alone would not meet that standard. However, since you know about the lawsuit you should still respond or risk a default if a court doesn't dismiss it on it's own. File an answer, and with that a motion to dismiss based on personal jurisdiction.

Look up a case called International Shoe v. Washington and Burger King v. Rudzewicz. Those are informative on this subject.

This is not legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. This is for education and informational purposes only. It is always recommended that you contact an attorney with any concerns as each individual case is unique.

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I have read that answering the complaint would be considered a general appearance by the court and that I should instead file a motion to quash the subpoena on the grounds of personal jurisdiction since I have no ties or contacts with anyone in California. Even just hiring a local lawyer in California would be grounds for losing my minimum contacts since I would be doing business in the state of California.


Turn the papers over to your homeowners insurance company to defend.

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This sounds like an excellent law school test question, however, the answer depends on the details of the facts.

Regardless, if you have been served a summons and complaint, you need to respond in the time set forth in the summons or else you risk the potential of a default judgment being entered against you. You should immediately contact your homeowners or renters insurance carrier and advise them that you have been sued and turn the suit papers over to them so that they can appropriately defend you. Their attorneys will investigate your legal question and see whether or not you are sued in the proper jurisdiction.

Legal Disclaimer:

If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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