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Can I sue for defamation?

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

Posted

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
Cezold@Ezoldlaw.com
www.ezoldlaw.com

Answered 8 months ago. 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, New Jersey or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified. /Christopher E. Ezold/ The Ezold Law Firm, P.C. One Belmont Avenue, Suite 501 Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 (610) 660-5585 Cezold@Ezoldlaw.com www.ezoldlaw.com

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Asker

Posted

Chris, thank you so much for the well thought out answer. It is not what I wanted to hear. However, I guess I needed to hear that I can not do much. The student out three more emails today to college officials. I am now a smelly, drunk racist. I just want it to stop. However, the college seems to take my side. Thanks again!! Rob

Christopher Edward Ezold

Christopher Edward Ezold

Posted

I wish I could tell you there was a legal remedy worth pursuing. You may want to consider discussing with administration whether this student has issues that need to be addressed by the school.

Posted

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

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Posted

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 www.serviceandjustice.com.

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Posted

Have you heard of the Streisand Effect? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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 opinion on the merits of your case based on the facts above. My answer to this questions might seems curt or mean. My job is not to be your friend, but to tell you the truth. Sometimes the truth hurts. You don't want a lawyer that tells you everything you want to hear, pats your head, rubs your belly, and gives you a balloon. That lawyer is not doing you any favors. This is not legal advice. This is free. You pay for legal advice.

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