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Can you sue for libel in small claims court or do I need to get an attorney?

Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA |

My Craigslist ad gets flagged due to someone posting negative comments and asking people to flag me. Their post clearly labels me as a phishing scammer that obtains people's phone numbers and emails and then sells them. I am just selling musical equipment and these accusations are totally false. Thanks for your help.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. You should get an attorney. The small claims court really isn't suitable for libel claims. Typical claims in small claims court are for auto accidents, property damage, landlord/tenant rent deposit disputes, and collection of money owed.


  2. With some exceptions such as restraining orders and injunctions in general, you can sue for any cause in small claims that you coud otherwise.
    You might want to at least consult with an attorney. Defamation is a difficult type of case. You might have other and better means of addressing the issue.

    The above is not intended as legal advice.


  3. Yes, you can sue in small claims for almost anything you could in Superior Court. However, you are proposing a difficult case and should seek the counsel of a qualified attorney. Good luck.

    Legal Disclaimer: If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. Attorney Grennier is licensed to practice law in California. 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. Attorney Grennier strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.


  4. I agree with Attorney Chen. The other thing to consider is that if you file in small claims court, the amount that you can recover is limited by law. If your damages as a result of the alleged libel are in excess of small claims jurisdiction, you will not be able to pursue the full amount. You should likely speak with an attorney to discuss what makes the most sense given the full factual background of the case.


  5. Let's imagine that you do have a case that can be effectively brought in small claims court. The previous 4 answers telling you to get a lawyer seem to ignore the reality that you can't take a lawyer with you to small claims court. You'll be on your own there.

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