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I have an unfriendly Neighbor spreading lies about me to people in my neighborhood. What can I do about it?

Portland, OR |

I am going through a separation and this neighbor is spreading lies about me. I would like them to stop.

Attorney Answers 4


Send them a Cease and Desist letter on a lawyers letterhead and should you ever feel threatened go to the police.

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In order to sustain a suit for defamation (which I assume is what you're interested in, on account of the subject heading - note that libel is written defamation, and slander is spoken), you need to demonstrate that someone has made untrue statements about you, to a third party, which are not mere opinions, and which caused you ascertainable financial harm. So if you suffered an economic loss because of this, you might have a defamation suit. Without any specific harm, you can't sue anyone.

I've personally never been a fan of the 'cease-and-desist letter' tactic. In my professional experience, it is not wise to threaten to do anything that you are not able and prepared to actually do. I don't think you should threaten a lawsuit unless you actually have a decent chance at winning one.

If this neighbor makes you afraid for your physical safety, you may also qualify for a stalking protective order. You can read more about these laws here:

Ultimately, though, remember this: The courts are not here to mediate everyone's interpersonal disputes, and they're not capable of making obnoxious people less obnoxious. There are limits to what the law can do about rude neighbors.

Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: | Online:

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A local lawyer could send a cease and desist letter, which may help, or it may throw fuel on the fire. You know the neighbor better than we do.

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Try talking to the neighbor. Try community mediation through the county.

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