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I am being threatened to be taken to court for alleged defamation ... what are my recourse options?

Bishop, CA |

I began a relationship with a man who had just temporarily moved to the town I live in. I was mislead my him to believe he was separated and in the middle of a divorce. I unfortunately believed him, and continues to have a public relationship with him until I realized he was not being honest with me, at which time I broke up the relationship. I created an alternate Facebook page that documented our relationship and publicly posted it to expose his lies to his wife. I don't believe I have done anything illegal and I have not posted anything that is a lie or misleading. This man says unless I remove the FB Page he will spend every dollar in court to make me take it down. Does he have a case? Because he misrepresented his self to me do I have a case? What are my options?

Attorney Answers 5

Posted

It is always troubling to see people cloaking themselves with assurances that they have posted or stated nothing but the "truth" when faced with the possibility of a defamation suit. Yes, truth is a complete and wonderful and valedictory defense. But truth is all too often in the eye of the beholder. And even if you have posted only a truth that will survive the ages, if you get sued (and you can be sued) it takes several thousand dollars of defense work to get to the point of establishing your truth in court and causing the case to be dismissed for that reason. You don't just greet the process server at the door and refuse the matter because "it is all true." And you don't just stroll into court and let the judge know that the case can be flushed because you only stated the truth. If you get sued, you will be defending in court and with an attorney for as much as a year before the court turns to making an assessment of your truth.

There is nothing laudatory about you posting personal info for the explicit purposes of causing trouble in someone else's marriage, even if that person shouldn't have done what they done. And your ear is sorely out of tune if you are expecting that any judge or jury would ultimately see you as the noble one here.

And, no, you can't sue him successfully for misrepresenting himself to you. Of course he deserves it -- but that is not the policy or position of the law.

No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship set forth in a written document executed by the client and by me or a member of my firm. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. I can give advice, make recommendations and answer specific questions only after reviewing the evidence and documents applicable to a specific client and following a personal meeting in my office in which the relevant facts can be developed and analyzed. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.

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2 comments

Asker

Posted

Thank you for taking the time to clearly give me an explanation. I have already closed the page. Lessoned learned; Stay away from anyone in a supposed divorce. Yuck

Christopher John Gansen

Christopher John Gansen

Posted

Ms. McCall, as per usual, delivers a well-thought and empathetic response.

Posted

If everything you have posted to date is 100% TRUE and you can prove that its true, there is nothing he can do. However, the most important thing you must ensure is that what you are posting is PROVABLY true. Your best option is to put him and your relationship with him behind you. The sooner you move on with your life, the less stress this will cause you.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you Mrs. Vaccaro for your advice. Everything I posted is true and would be able to be backs by witnesses. I actually have just started a college law class which is very interesting. I hope this will not turn into a civil suite, and I have moved on from this relationship. Thank you for your time

Asker

Posted

sorry for the typos*

Andra Marie Vaccaro

Andra Marie Vaccaro

Posted

I wholly understand what you are going through. And remember he is NOT worth it!

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Posted

"Nothing he can do"? He can sue. He won't win, but he can sue. Anyone who has ever been through a defamation lawsuit will testify, that's not nothing.

Andra Marie Vaccaro

Andra Marie Vaccaro

Posted

Unfortunately, we live in a society where anyone can sue anyone for anything. If you do get sued, I suggest that you immediately hire an attorney to file a SLAPP motion if the facts support it. (SLAPP stands for strategic lawsuits against public policy.) This motion is brought at the onset of an appropriate lawsuit such as one for defamation, If you win that motion (and it is a motion many judges grant), your ex will have to pay your reasonable attorneys' fees which is a mandatory provision of the act. But I don't think he will sue you for if he does, he will have to air his "dirty laundry" in public. and he clearly doesn't seem to want that. And in my opinion if the facebook page you created is still up, you really should take it down. There is nothing to be accomplished by keeping it up. It only incites him. And in my opinion, it really is time to put him in your past.

Asker

Posted

Thank you again Andra M. Vaccaro. I will look into that first thing in the morning! I did close up that account and changed everything from public to private "only me" setting... I really want him to go away.

Keith LaSalle Allen

Keith LaSalle Allen

Posted

One additional thought here. Remember two things about the law.... First.. Justice is a process NOT a result! Second,...when it comes to going to court/trial...its NEVER about what the truth is... it is ONLY about what you can PROVE.

Posted

I am not sure what you mean about you creating an "alternate Facebook page." Is everything on this "alternate" Facebook page true and correct?

You may benefit from reviewing the Legal Guide I have published on Avvo.com which deals with defamation issues. You can access the Guide through my profile page. Truth is a defense to a defamation claim. In the interim, I suggest that you make sure that you have appropriate renter's or homeowner's insurance which covers you for liability regarding defamation claims.

Legal Disclaimer:

If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

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.

This ans. does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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Asker

Posted

Yes sir. Everything is true and correct from the best of my knowledge. I feel like he would be wasting his time on a civil suit if that is what he intends to do, but my character is worth protecting. He lied about his marital standing. The "alternate" page as I called it, is another page that uses my first and middle name, but is not my main page of networking. I made the second one entirely for exposing the relationship I had with this man. It may sound petty, but I was married once before and I thought as a woman his wife needed to know, even though I am exposing myself and am embarrassed. She lives in another state and I am moving on with my life. I don't want to keep relations with any of these people, but when this man threatened to take me to court unless I recant this information on FB, I thought I'd better ask what my options are? It seems to me that if he wanted to sue, he should be worried, after all he misrepresented himself, wouldn't I have a case if I wanted to counter sue? I have no intention of wasting my time , but if you have answers, I would be grateful.

Posted

I'm not sure why a grown person would be creating a fake Facebook page???

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Asker

Posted

I don't understand why would you answer my question with another question. It is not a fake page. I used my name and the contents of the page are non threatening and provably true, but is an alternate page from my main account. My question was, does he have a likely case against me? I am not pursuing him in any way, it seems he is just upset that I made public the lies he told me. I may remove the page because I truly don't want to have anything to do with him.

Christian K. Lassen II

Christian K. Lassen II

Posted

Anyone can sue anyone, but you should take down the "alternative" page or however you would characterize it.

Keith LaSalle Allen

Keith LaSalle Allen

Posted

I agree with the original Asker of the question.. I thought her post was self explanatory. She created an alternate page from her regular page. I have found Mr. Lassen, who practices in PA and tends to answer questions in other jurisdictions where he doesn't know the law, to often do so in a condescending manner.

Asker

Posted

Thank you Mr. Allen I have used this site a few time and I have noticed Mr. Lassen is condescending in other posts as well... and I did consult with a local attorney ( very respected and I was surprised he accepted to a consultation ) . The ex I was speaking of continued to contact me where as I haven't in about a months time, at this point there is nothing worth taking action against, and the lawyer I meet with agreed that if everything I said was true, I could not be sued (successfully ) for defamation. I did close the page to avoid further incite. I definitely need to be a little wiser on the type of man I choose to date.

Keith LaSalle Allen

Keith LaSalle Allen

Posted

I'm glad you were able to speak with a local knowledgeable attorney. As to your choice of men you date...don't be so hard on yourself. Its a difficult place these days, the dating world. It's much harder to get to know the people we meet these days. Just take things slow and don't be afraid to ask questions and do a little checking. Good luck to you.

Posted

Ms. McCall, as per usual, delivers a well-thought and empathetic response. Best to you, poster.

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Asker

Posted

Thank you Mr. Gansen. I closed the page. Hopefully he will leave me alone. I am looking into a SLAP motion just to be safe.

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