If you post online comments about a local personality on someone else's website can they sue you for making false statements?

Asked about 2 years ago - Philadelphia, PA

The subject in question has a local radio show and is also a life insurance agent. Many people post negative comments about this person and the website is there to make people aware of what a scoundrel this person is. Are the postings protected speech under the Constitution?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . If a posting is a false statement of fact (as opposed to opinion) which causes damage, you can be sued, yes.

    The answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is for informational purposes only.

    Lassen Law Firm
    1515 Market St #1510
    Philadelphia, PA 19102
    215-510-6755
    http://www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com

    Licensed in PA & NJ. 29% Contingency Fee. Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com
  2. Christopher Edward Ezold

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

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    Answered . Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.

    That being said, the Constitution protects your right to free speech against the government, and not against each other. If you make a false statement of fact that damages another person, you can be sued. If the statement of fact is true, or if it is not a statement of fact but an opinion only, then you have a defense against a lawsuit.

    If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or telephone number.

    /Christopher E. Ezold/
    The Ezold Law Firm, P.C.
    One Belmont Avenue,
    Suite 501
    Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
    (610) 660-5585
    Cezold@Ezoldlaw.com
    www.ezoldlaw.com

  3. Leo Michael Mulvihill Jr.

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . You can be sued by anyone, at any time, for any reason. The real question is whether they have a legitimate claim. Moreover, you have significant leeway under free-speech laws to state your opinion. The issue is whether you intentionally, and maliciously, decide to post false things about a person on the Internet. You may wish to discuss this matter with a free-speech attorney.

    This answer is informational only and does not create an attorney client relationship. I am not expressing an... more

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