Hello, I am an American woman and I'm remarried to an Egyptian man--obviously I want him to live in the States with me, and upon applying for his residency I was told by US Immigration that I had to live w/him in Egypt til the process was completed. It's been 18 months that I've been away from my kids from my previous marriage, and my ex's family are telling my kids that I really didn't have to leave them, that I cheated on their father, and that I've abandoned them--all lies. My kids are 12, 14, and 16 yrs old and this has hurt my relationship with them greatly (they won't speak to me at all and I've invited them to come here and stay w/me in Egypt or at least visit and they won't. Can I sue my ex in-laws for slander? The state is PA...thanks for your help!!
I question whether or not suing your ex-in-laws, the grandparents of your children, is the best use of your time, money and efforts. It appears that much of what they are saying is their opinion as to your abandonment etc. Opinions are not actionable. I suggest you review the Legal Guide I have published on Avvo.com which deals with defamation and what it is. Your efforts may be better spent in getting the Egyptian and US governments to approve everything necessary to have your new husband enter the country. Egypt, being in the midst of the turmoil that it is in,was already notoriously slow to approve anything bureaucratically or administratively. Perhaps you should engage the services of an attorney to speed along your husband's entry into the United States.
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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.
You certainly can sue your former in-laws for slander, but you would have a difficult case.
In the first place, truth is a defense to slander, and some of the statements you attribute to your former in-laws are indeed true: you did not "have" to leave, for instance. Second, some of the statements you attribute to your former in-laws are statements of opinion or characterizations of fact, for instance their claim that you "abandoned" your children. The claim that you cheated on your first husband, if false, is a little different. Proving that you did not, however, would become an ugly matter and, possibly, one that you would not want to air in public.
Slander, also, is usually an action that is brought for a damaged reputation in the community; while it would not be impossible to show that your reputation was harmed based on the facts you have told us about, it would be difficult. More importantly, the Court would probably see through the slander suit and recognize that your claims are, essentially, family law matters.
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In addition to the above answer, without monetary damages, the cost of the case can often exceed the recovery, which is why most defamation lawyers will want an up-front fee for costs, usually around 5k. You can search for a defamation lawyer in your state for a free consultation. Our firm does Not handle defamation however, just serious personal injury cases.
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