Suing my mother in law for slander/defamation of character and libel

Asked 7 months ago - Boca Raton, FL

My mother in law is trying to defame my character while i'm going through a divorce with her son. She wrote a slanderous 4 page letter about me giving it to a large law firm and i found an email today stating that she is going to my professional board after the divorce and falsely accuse me of stuff. Her son has some issues and i assisted him by getting him help, but i was not his therapist- i was his wife! She has been emotionally and psychologically abusive to me the entire marriage. I've had to see a therapist for this, who agreed to write a letter if i need it. What steps do i take to protect my professional name? How do i sue this woman?n

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Richard Todd Rosenstein

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . You should provide all of the information to your divorce lawyer. Generally speaking, defamation consists of false statements of fact (rather than opinions) that are communicated to others and cause damages. A statement of fact is a statement that can be proven to be true or false. Opinions are not actionable as defamation. In addition, "truth" is a defense to a defamation lawsuit. However, If the person wrote an email to you specifically stating that she intends to file false allegations against you with the board, you should keep that email as evidence. You should contact a local defamation lawyer to evaluate the circumstances and to determine your rights.

  2. Lars A. Lundeen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . You may find it helpful to review the Legal Guide I have published on Avvo.com which deals with defamation issues.

    I suggest that you take all of your mother-in-law's postings etc., and arrange a free consultation with a local personal injury attorney to review your options.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    Legal Disclaimer: If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. Mr. Lundeen is licensed to... more
  3. Andra Marie Vaccaro

    Pro

    Contributor Level 15

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    Answered . I'm sorry that you are going through such a tough time. If your ex-mother in law wrote the letter in connection with your divorce to her son, then it may be privileged as allegations and relevant statements in connection with on-going court proceedings are privileged regardless of their veracity. If the letter she writes to the Board is couched as her opinion, rather than as statements of fact, that also would not be actionable defamation. If however she does send a letter to your Board in which she makes factually untrue statements, it could be defamation per se for which you would be able to sue, regardless of whether there is actionable damage. Since, whether you can sue is wholly based upon your unique set of facts, I recommend you find a local attorney experienced in defamation cases to give you a proper analysis. Also, please be aware that defamation cases can be costly both financially and emotionally, so please weigh that before you do anything. Good luck to you....

  4. Dennis Wayne Tackett

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . Save all of the vindictive emails. You may need them for your professional board. Have you spoken with your divorce attorney about this?

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