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Do I have a small claims libel case?

Sandusky, OH |

I've been off of work for the past year due to a surgery in a workers comp. case, which marks my 3rd surgery in all. I had a "friend" accuse me of faking the injury (even though I have limited movement and a very strict weight limit) and "taking advantage" of the system, even thin I'm due for my 4th surgery next month.

These things were written on a public forum (Facebook) and have been the cause of several more fights with friends from the original posting.

Ultimately, do I have a possible claim for libel in small claims court? While this has cost me nothing so far, other than some great relationships, who knows what could come of it in the end if I don't take steps to end it.

Thanks!

This person wrote another post on their own wall, which I'm not privy to viewing but have been sent the text from friends, stating how I've been faking the injury and taking advantage of the system. Previously, the first "conversation" was limited to just a friends status.

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

You can bring a case if the statements are false (based on your info they clearly are) and can be taken as a statement of fact and not a joke or opinion. In some jurisdictions, such as Florida, a plaintiff in a libel or slander case has to prove actual damages (i.e. loss of employment, inability to become employed). Your facts suggest that you have openly not suffered any measurable damages.

However, I suggest contacting an attorney to discuss the possibility of an action. You may have suffered damages that you do not realize are recoverable.

This answer is intended to be used for general purposes only; it does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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3 comments

Asker

Posted

Hi Mr. Pillsbury, you mentioned that there may be other damages - are you able to shed some further detail on that, if possible?

Jacob W Pillsbury

Jacob W Pillsbury

Posted

It depends on the laws specific to your state and jurisdiction. In some jurisdictions you may be entitled to recover nominal damages (though generally not worth your time/money). In some instances, damage to your reputation or alienation from friends and family can be recoverable. I can't be more specific in your case as I would need more facts, would need to be versed in Ohio law, and would probably need a bar license in your state. If you want the online harassment to stop, I strongly suggest speaking with an attorney in your area. I'm sorry that all of this is happening to you and I hope that you can get a resolution quickly.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for the information and especially your time, I greatly appreciate it.

Posted

If you are merely trying to "prove a point" for a small amount of court costs and no attorneys fees, be my guest. But honestly, you will probably look ridiculous in the process and lose more respect with the people who you have fallen out of favor with.

Additionally, to win a defamation claim in Ohio you need to show damages beyond just hurt feelings. If you lose a workers comp case because of this, that might be some damages, but it doesn't really seem like you are talking about much money here. Move on.

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