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My 56 year membership was revoked from an organization. A letter was sent to them on an alleged happening 33 years ago.

Bay City, MI |

Do I have a legal right to find out who sent the letter and its contents? I've appealed and its in the process now with the organization. But I'm told its a cut and dry situation and my membership will be denied. I have limited knowledge of what the letter is about. How to I obtain this letter and what are
my options pursuing defamation of character in the courts? Thank you.

Attorney Answers 3

  1. You have asked a number of loaded questions. Without knowing what is in the letter and the reasons behind your membership termination, it is impossible to say. If the allegations are false, then you can sue for defamation. Whether or not the person or group is still around after 33 years, or whether there is another party involved is not clear from your summary. It seems as if there is some information you have held back, and that makes it much tougher to answer. If the allegations are true, then truth is an affirmative defense to a defamation action.

    James Frederick

    ***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!

  2. A number of questions would need to be answered before any meanginful assessment of your options could be provided. For example, the type of organization, what its by-laws or applicable membership documents provide for, whether the alleged event was true, etc. However, there are generally legal avenues that could be pursued under similar circumstances to discover the contents of the letter and identity of the author. To assess those avenues, however, you'd need to meet with an attorney.

    I'm licensed to practice law in Michigan ( My response is provided only to educate the public about general issues that should be discussed with competent legal counsel in your state. Under no circumstances should you consider my response as a substitute for consulting an attorney in order to fully understand how the law may apply to your specific and unique circumstances.

  3. Without knowing the circumstances it is impossible to form an opinion. What is your "membership" really worth. What will your loss be if you lose the membership? Is it worth the legal fees?
    I understand this is a matter of principal, but be warned, it can be quite expensive.
    It the allegations are false you may have an action for defamation, slander or libel if there was a knowing or reckless statement of fact. If, on the other hand, the allegation has a basis in fact then there is a valid and complete defense.
    I would suggest you counsel with an attorney about your options.

    To the PROSPECTIVE client, please call myself or another attorney for your choice with more detaiils and an appointment. My PRELIMINARY answer to your question(s) is for general purposes and based upon what little information you have conveyed. It is based on such limited information that the general answer should never be relied as a reason for your action or inaction. My response does NOT establish an attorney-client relationship and such may only be established by mutual agreement, and the signing of a written retainer agreement, which will generally require payment for our services, as this is what we do for a living and, just like you, we must get paid for our work.. .