I am sorry that you have to go through this. Defamation is defined as the publication of one or more false and unprivileged statements of fact to one or more third parties concerning an identifiable party, which harms that party's reputation. A statement can be defamatory per se, where its meaning is apparent on its face and there is no need to prove actual harm (injury to reputation is presumed). One example is stating that someone committed a criminal offense. Assigning a monetary figure to presumed damages (mental suffering, harm to personal and professional reputation as well as standing in the community, economic loss, and personal humiliation) can be very difficult; it tends to be an inexact and arbitrary process. Alternatively, the statement can be defamatory per quod; a plaintiff must plead and prove special damages to recover under that theory. Some defenses to a defamatory statement include truth, consent, innocent construction, absolute privilege (e.g., a statement made in a judicial or legislative proceeding, or the police), opinion, and various statutory privileges. This is an incredibly complex and fact-specific area of the law. You may want to sit down with an attorney and all relevant documentation to discuss. Assuming you have one or more claims, whether or not it makes sense to proceed, financially and otherwise, is a decision that will need to be made. Hope this helps. Good luck.
Robert T. Kuehl
Kuehl Law, P.C.
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