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Can I sue a US citizen for defamation/libel whilst I am outside the US?

Orlando, FL |

A US citizen is publicly defaming me on Facebook and making claims about me and my character that simply are not true. I am based outside of the US, in Europe. The same individual has threatened to take his claims to the media, and generally cause a nuisance for me.

Do I have any way to sue this person for defamation? Can I appoint a representative to pursue the case for me? Can I submit a cease and desist? Is there anything I can do without physically being in the US myself to pursue the case?

What are my rights/abilities here?

Attorney Answers 3

  1. Best answer

    First, you would have to prove the elements of defamation including any damages you may have incurred. This is not always an easy hurdle to jump. Second, you would have to file in the US, probably in Florida if that is where the defendant resides. You could hire an attorney to go through all of the motions to get the case filed and get it to trial, but you would most likely need to be physically present at trial in order to pursue the case. Defamation usually requires live testimony. Now, there are rules that sometimes allow for testimony by telephone and other electronic means, although courts are sometimes reluctant to grant those motions. I would suggest using the Find a Lawyer search here on Avvo to find an attorney near the Defendant that may be willing to pursue your case or at least better evaluate whether you do in fact have a cause of action. - 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.

  2. You have two situations. One is the false statements. The other is an attempt at extortion.
    The interesting thing is where do / may you sue this person? Which state /country do you complain about the attempted blackmail?
    Suggest you contact counsel in your country about the viability of suit there and counsel where the potential defendant lives for same.
    Talk to the authorities in both locations.

    The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client relationship as this forum does not provide for a confidential communication.

  3. Report the abuse to FB. Defamation lawyers are expensive and usually want a $5,000.00 retainer just to begin, so unless you sustained a significant monetary loss, you'll likely pay a lawyer thousands more than you would recover, if anything. However, feel free to contact a defamation lawyer.

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