Should I hire a separate attorney in a libel/defamation case with 5 other defendants?

Asked over 1 year ago - New York, NY

I am being accused of libel and defamation in a case in which I had no major involvement in. The plaintiffs wrongfully accused me of sending emails in which I expressed opinions about them. One of the statements is " Yet again another one of XXX's scams! Dam she has the mind of Hitler!" This was just an opinion but the plaintiff is stating this statement was defamatory. I had no other involvement in the allegations. What should I do? Should I hire a separate attorney from the rest of the defendants to answer the summons? Or do we all have to have the same attorney? We are all shareholders of the same coop building in NYC and were expressing opinions about our board of directors.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. David Alexander Browde

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If you actually have been served with papers, yes you should have your own attorney - and quickly. The first question is whether to file a motion to dismiss or an answer - and this has to be made with some speed.

    Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer... more
  2. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, retain your own lawyer. Contact one of the above lawyers in your state.

  3. Eric Edward Rothstein

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It is hard to answer your question without knowing the allegations against the others. However, you should make a pre-Answer motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. I handle these type of cases.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was... more
  4. Jeffrey Ira Schwimmer

    Contributor Level 19

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You should definitely have your own attorney. Even though all "defendants" might be united in interest in so far as wanting to defeat plaintiff's claim in its entirety, there is no such unity when it comes to the percetage each might be responsible to pay in the event liability is resolved in favor of the plaintiiff as against one or more of the named defendants. This presents a potential conflict of interest for the attorney who would represent all defendants. If you have your own homeowner's insurance report this claim against you to that carrier and you may be able to have that carrier pick up your defense and indemnity.

Related Topics

Personal injury and defamation

Defamation is any type of emotional or psychological personal injury that occurs when someone intentionally harms another’s character or reputation.

Personal injury and libel

Libel is the written or visual defamation of another person’s character. False statements can damage someone’s reputation, so it is a type of personal injury.

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