I am being wrongfully sued for defamation of character because someone opened an email account in my name and made statements on my behalf from the email account. I had no knowledge of the matter until I got served with the papers. The person happens to be a close friend of mine. What should be my defense in the answer to the verified complaint?
It depends upon the nature of the statements allegedly made. It may be a motion to dismiss. It may be an answer with a denial.
Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer could be considered attorney advertising.
Criminal Defense Attorney
You need a lawyer. The email company needs to be subpeoned for information on what computet was used to create the email account.
I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.
Personal Injury Lawyer
An Answer to a complaint MUST contain "affirmative defenses" which, if omitted, can wind up being waived. No attorney on AVVO can tell you what, or which, defenses to include without reviewing the complaint and knowing all details, aside what you have presented. If you have homeowner's or renters insurance, you should notify the carrier as you may be able to get coverage for this action, which will then provide you with a defense and indemnity against the claim. If you do not have insurance, retain an attorney immediately. Defamation actions are highly technical and you will not be able to properly defend yourself. Be aware, an Answer to the complaint has to be served within 20 days of the date you were personally handed (served) the complaint and within 30 days if there was "substituted" service on you - so time is of the essense.
A local lawyer can answer the complaint and subpoena your internet service provider
You would make a motion to dismiss most likely. Hire an attorney immediately.
Mr. Pascale is licensed to practice law in the State of New York. 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 time-lines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Pascale strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to insure proper advice is received.