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Does this qualify as defamation per se?

Nashua, NH |

I am a developer in NH. I'm currently involved in a dispute where I am suing an individual for services rendered in small claims court. This person has emailed at least one person on two different occasions calling me a criminal, an extortionist, and saying that I have maliciously hacked his website. (Which is an extremely serious allegation in my field).
He says that I'm dangerous and that they should be wary of working with me. I'm sure this is trade defamation, but there is no real way to prove loss at this point. I'm curious if this has risen to the level of defamation per se? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. I am not even sure there is such a thing as defamation per se but if there was this would not be it.

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  2. There is a such thing as defamation per se. If the false statements of fact impute criminal activity, the statements may be considered defamation per se. The damages are presumed in defamation per se actions. You should contact a local defamation to review all of the communications and to advise you regarding your rights.


  3. Defamation requires a communication of defamatory material to a third party. Your recitation suggests only communications with you. Unpleasant, yes; defamation, no.

    The author of this answer is an Attorney-at-Law, licensed to practice law only in the state of Arizona. Unless both you and the author have signed a formal retainer agreement, you are not the author's client, and the author's discussion of issues does not constitute legal advice. Opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, and are neither privileged nor confidential.


  4. I agree that you should contact an attorney in NH who understands defamation. You are really talking about libel per se. Normally, there is a different standard of proof in "per se" claims from standard libel. There are rules that apply, so you should contact a NH lawyer to explain all of the facts. to him or her The real problem comes when you want to seek damages. If the person is judgment proof, then there is not much you can do. Having tried to obtain an injunction against someone who did something similar, albeit not on the internet, and having the judge say that unless there is a threat to public safety, like yelling fire in a theater, the court is not going to enjoin free speech. The remedy is a suit for damages, and since this is an intentional act, and normal liability insurance will not apply, unless the person has reachable assets, it could all be a waste of time. Contact a lawyer right away.

    DISCLAIMER: This does not constitute legal advice. By providing the requested information you are not entering into an attorney-client relationship with this law firm. Only a written retainer agreement between you and our law firm can create such a relationship. We are only licensed to practice in NH and Massachusetts.

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