Does slanderous remarks made repeatedly against one with witnesses to testify constitute a Defamation Per Se cause of action?

Asked over 1 year ago - Los Angeles, CA

In several occasions the owner of a rental property made fabricated and slanderous remarks against me and imputed to me crimes/criminal conducts that are in opposite contrast to my moral beliefs and values. He has inflicted emotional distress on me due to his reckless disregard to my rights as a long time tenant.

Such retaliatory actions were made by the property owner after I had made several written complaints as well as the ones made over the phone or in person about his violation of law and civil codes.

These violations included breach of Implied warranty of habitability, breach of implied covenant of quiet enjoyment, as well as nuisance, invasion of privacy, harassment, failure to repair or failure to repair in timely manner, failure to eliminate safety issues such as slip and fall

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Daniel Jonathan Cheren

    Contributor Level 7
    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . Slander per se includes making false statements imputing criminal conduct -- but it ALSO involves communicating these statements to THIRD PERSONS.

    So if the property owner called YOU a thief and an unindicted 9/11 co-conspirator to your face -- that would likely not be considered slander.

    But if he told somebody ELSE that you were -- this would be.

    Also, you need to distinguish between expressions of opinion which are protected free speech from slander which is not.

    In general a statement that indicates how a person feels is more likely to be an expression of opinion and not actionable --

    "so if I say Joe has the morals of a bank robber " this is an expression of opinion that would be protected speech, BUT if I said

    "Joe robbed a bank yesterday" -- this would be actionable (so long as it was not true, and Joe had not robbed any banks in the recent past)

    This answer is for guidance only and is not intended nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.
  2. Eugene P. Castagliuolo

    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . This is NOT a DIY matter, but yes, falsely accusing another of a crime is defamation per se in most jurisdictions. You should consult an attorney in your jurisdiction to get a more specific opinion. Good luck!

    If you think my response is the best response, it would help me if you would indicate that. Also, please note... more
  3. Panda Lynn Kroll

    Contributor Level 9


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Before filing a lawsuit, you and your attorney should consider your exposure to the defendant's attorney fees. See my white paper on the anti-SLAPP defense, which can cause an unpleasant surprise.

    Once your defamation lawsuit is filed, you won't be able to escape exposure to attorney fees should an anti-SLAPP motion be filed by dismissing your lawsuit. A dismissal in such a case would automatically entitle the defendant to an award of his/her attorney fees.

    See my white paper, below.

    This answer is not a substitute for legal advice and it does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Seek the... more
  4. Christian K. Lassen II


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Sounds like a laundry list of issues, so best bet is to use Avvo's "find a lawyer" tool and schedule a sit-down appointment to discuss all these issues in detail.

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