Can I sue for defamation?

Asked over 1 year ago - Philadelphia, PA

I am a full time professor at a medium size college a student recently emailed the college president saying many bad things. She said that I came to class swelling like alcohol and urine. I am not really a drinker and I practice good hygiene. I am so embarrassed by this. What can I do? Thank you!!!

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Christopher Edward Ezold


    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree


    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey or Federal law applies, unless otherwise specified.

    That being said, you may have a claim for defamation, but likely only if you suffer damages from the student's email - i.e. you are disciplined or terminated, or have some other concrete negative result. If the college president does not believe the email, then there is likely no legal defamation, just an immature student saying mean things about you. If the defamatory language crosses into impugning your business character or conduct (and claims that you showed up to class drunk seem likely to impugn your conduct in your business), then you may not have to prove damages, but you would still have to show people heard and believed the statements. These kinds of claims are frequently not worth the lawsuit.

    If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or telephone number.

    /Christopher E. Ezold/

    The Ezold Law Firm, P.C.
    Employment, Business and Health Law
    One Belmont Avenue, Suite 501
    Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
    (610) 660-5585

    Answered 8 months ago. Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed... more
  2. Christian K. Lassen II


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Damages are needed for a lawsuit. Contact the above attorney to discuss in detail, as my firm does not handle defamation cases. Good luck.

  3. Leo Michael Mulvihill Jr.

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . Have you heard of the Streisand Effect?

    Do you want to make this relatively private allegation a matter of public record that anyone can access? If not, then you might not want to pursue this. Remember that court filings are public records.

    This answer is informational only and does not create an attorney client relationship. I am not expressing an... more
  4. George Costas Andriotis

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Consult an attorney to investigate the situation but as my colleague indicated damages may be an issue.

    Call for a free consultation at 727-937-1400 or visit us on the Web at

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