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Do I have a case for defamation/libel ?

Westport, MA |

I was the owner of a dealership and custodial single dad, my ex one day finds out that I have a new relationship and begins a campaign to close down my business and create false reports to every agency . She starts with reporting to the FBI that I have child porn, am selling guns, manufacturing drugs. This report is given to detectives in my small town and they decide to treat me like a common criminal and a search warrant is served on my residence, nothing is found and i am not arrested, however in a small town word get around and the selectmen who issue my license to sell cars do not allow me to renew my license, Bad remarks about my business made by selectmen are published in the local news paper. She also made false complaints to irs,bbb, selectmen...WHAT DO I DO?

Attorney Answers 4


I suggest that you pay an attorney for a consultation and review all of these things in detail with the attorney. If your wife is judgment proof, there is little point in suing her. You may need to get some form of a restraining order or have your attorney write her a cease and desist letter. Your business attorney should investigate the denial of your business license.

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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. 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. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

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I am so very sorry for your situation, and I empathize with your plight.

Sadly, as noted by my esteemed colleague, if the ex-wife is “judgment-proof” (meaning she has no asset that could be sold to satisfy any judgment in your favor), there is no real point in suing her – and while you may now say it is “worth it on principal” when it comes time to pay the legal bills incurred in the pursuit of such a claim, you most likely will change your mind on this point.

This could, quite easily, cost you in excess of $20,000.00 or more, all of which you will have to pay out of your own pocket – and, yes, while a libel case is a “personal injury” case, where attorneys typically enter into contingent fee agreements – doing so, from an attorney’s perspective, is a business decision – and one just does NOT take on or agree to a contingent fee agreement UNLESS there is some certainty that the defendant (here your ex-wife) has assets to satisfy any such judgment.

At the same time, you should seek and obtain a restraining order from the appropriate probate & family court to prevent her from making such false allegations in the future – which also has some inherent problems.

Best wishes to you and your children – and, if it is any consolation, the children always figure out which parent is “playing games” and which one truly cares for them – but the satisfaction you will one day reap from that is very far away now…. But, still, try to stay calm, and to be there for your children – in the long run, it is very much “worth it.” God Bless!

No attorney-client relatonship is created in responding to this question, and advice provided is based solely on very limited facts presented, and therefore may not be correct. You are advised that it is always best to contact a competent and experienced with the practice of law in the county in which you reside, particularly as it relates to family law, child support, custody and visitation (a/k/a "parenting time") issues, including 209A abuse-prevention restraining orders (a/k/a "ROs" in legal-speak), regarding un-emancipated children, under the age of 22.

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A local lawyer could send a cease and desist letter, but that could also backfire and throw fuel on the fire.

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