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Is this the right course of action to defend libel/slander/defamation?

Woodbury, NJ |

I ran for school board and one of my opponents (incumbent) went to a citizen's house & ques the man about my campaign sign on his lawn. A heated confrontation ensued and neighbors came out to break up the dispute. The man's daughter called me very upset to tell me. A police report was completed. I reported it on my campaign blog. The man filed a libel/slander suit against me. I'm now represnted & my atty sent a letter that there were no damages & to drop the case. 45+days have passed & haven't gotten a response. My atty is billing me for interrogatories that haven't yet happened and research and the bill keeps climbing and I have no resolve. The man & I both got elected and he is the pres of the BOE & just got a better job. What should I do next and what are my rights now? VERY POLITICAL!

Attorney Answers 4

  1. Best answer

    There's no painless way out of a lawsuit once it is filed. Expect to spend at least two years in litigation before your case is called to trial, so expect legal costs to mount dramatically. From your sparse set of facts, I cannot state that your attorney is doing anything unreasonable. If you want a second opinion, my office is in Woodbury and I have experience in libel/slander cases.

    A response to a question posted on Avvo is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. It is informational only. Allan E. Richardson, Esq. Richardson, Galella & Austermuhl 142 Emerson ST., Woodbury, NJ 08096 856-579-7045.

  2. Interrogatories are due from a defendant 60 days after filing an answer. It sounds like your attorney is trying to properly defend you, but you could always ask him or her to hold off on responding to discovery demands and doing research while making further attempts to get the lawsuit dismissed - perhaps by suggesting mediation. Short of formal mediation, where you'd both have to share the costs of the mediator's time and pay both of your attorneys, isn't there anyone you both know and trust who can help the two of you resolve this dispute short of a lawsuit? If it's a political dispute - is there a political solution?

    This response does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Due to the complexity and ever-changing nature of the law and to the limitations of this forum, this information may not be adequate for your specific situation.

  3. You must have had faith in your lawyer if you hired him. Best bet is to let him do his job, and work out a payment plan with him.

  4. Try making an approach outside of the context of the lawsuit. Send him a very funny but candid card with a personalized message congratulating him on his victory and bemoaning that you and he will have to go another 10 rounds. If that doesn't work, have a bakery make a giant cookie with a funny and pointed message on it. If that doesn't work, propose that the two of you settle the matter with three rounds of Jello wrestling for the benefit of a local charity. Start joking about the lawsuit that will not die with the people that the two of you both know. Let your good nature and humor about the situation be visible to everyone, with no lapses. (Fake it til you make it.) Eventually he will be worn down. No one can sustain their fervor for a fight without any push-back. A serious fight requires a serious opponent. There are many paths to getting out of a lawsuit. Some of them don't require lawyers or fees or deadlines or ....

    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. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. 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. Send me an email to schedule a paid Consultation for that kind of information, direction, and assistance. 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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