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Can I sue someone for talking badly about me in public giving wrong information without my consent?

San Jose, CA |

A Catholic priest said something about me that wasn't true in his sermon to make me look bad which is 1. Wrong for a priest to do especially in public and 2. It wasn't true. I wrote an article for the Portuguese newspaper and mentioned how the new pope is giving indulgences through twitter now, just repeating what's been on the news and he told everyone in church that "he wanted to make sure that everyone knew that what (stated my name) said about the Pope is not true" making me look bad and giving out wrong information. Is this something I can sue him for? Please let me know. Thank you.

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Attorney answers 4


You could, but you shouldn't.

Litigation is expensive and time consuming. It will not be worth your while. Have you considered simply speaking to this priest?


Defamation requires a false statement of fact. On the other hand, statements of opinion are not actionable. Additionally, where the person allegedly defamed is a public figure (potentially a very broad standard, depending on the circumstances), he must prove the statement was made maliciously. Finally, the plaintiff must somehow prove he was damaged, and (pragmatically) it must be bad enough to merit a sizable enough judgment to cover all of the costs and attorney fees.

Ryan T. Darby practices landlord-tenant law and civil litigation. This response is intended for informational purposes only and doesn't create an attorney-client relationship. (In other words, Ryan doesn't become your lawyer just by responding to your questions.)


Know that defamation lawyers typically want $5,000.00 up front just to begin, so unless you've sustained a significant monetary loss, it would likely cost you thousands more than you recover, but it's your nickel, call a local defamation lawyer


Defamation requires a false statement. You seem to indicate that although you were singled out, you published your opinion for anyone to see.

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