You need to find a lawyer in the jurisdiction in CA where the action has been brought. The lawyer should be experienced in actions against residents of foreign nations, as well as in defending libel cases. There are many potential defenses available, and the possibility of you having to go to court in CA is way down the road. Most libel cases are dismissed at some point, and few plaintiffs have the resources to pursue such a case to the end. However, if you fail to respond to the summons, a default judgment may be entered for the amount sought, and the judgment could be sent to the UK for collection. That could ruin your day. Unfortunately, it won't be cheap for you to hire a good lawyer to defend this. Doing nothing is liable to be more costly.
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What you should do depends on a lot of factors. It is not possible to determine anything about the case status from your question. If you send me an email, referencing this post, I will be happy to reply with my email address.
You can then forward a PDF copy of the summons, complaint, attachments, and a brief narrative regarding the manner of service to me. I will be happy to review to see if I can help.
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The first step is to hire a California lawyer who defends libel cases to respond to the complaint. From what you have told me, there are several potential grounds for getting the case dismissed relatively swiftly, but it will depend on the details. There may be no personal jurisdiction over you in California, there may be defects in service of the complaint, and you may have a free speech defense, which means you can file an "anti-SLAPP" motion, a procedure designed to swiftly dispense with a case and help you recover the fees you paid an attorney.
I frequently defend libel cases and am very familiar with the anti-SLAPP procedures. However, I cannot agree to represent you until I consult with you to make sure there are no conflicts of interest, and to review other matters. You may feel free to phone me at 310-277-3333, or email me at nmorgan at LPSLA dot com. If you email, it will be helpful if you send a pdf of the complaint. Good luck!
Please note: this answer is intended to inform and educate. It should not be taken as legal advice or a legal recommendation, as that would require a thorough review of all facts and circumstances. You may discuss the possibility of hiring me as a lawyer, but until we have an agreement in writing, there is no attorney-client relationship between us. Thank you, and good luck!
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Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D.
Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker
Fransen & Molinaro, LLP
980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206
Corona, CA 92879
www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com
"When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW."
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** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law.
Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D. ... Attorney at Law, Physician, Broker... Fransen & Molinaro, LLP... 980 Montecito Drive, Suite 206... Corona, CA 92879... (951)520-9684... www.fransenandmolinaro.com / www.888MDJDLAW.com... "When you need a lawyer, call the Doctor... Call Paul J. Molinaro, M.D., J.D... Call (888)MDJDLAW." ... * This post and all others I make on Internet are for informational purposes only. None of the information or materials I post are legal advice. Nothing I post as comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. While I try to be accurate, I do not guarantee accuracy... ** Fransen & Molinaro, LLP practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice, and real estate law.
If you have any form of personal liability insurance, what we in America sometimes refer to as homeowners or renters insurance, you should place your carrier on notice of this summons immediately and ask them to defend the action.
If you do not have insurance coverage for this type of claim, you will need to hire civil defense counsel, preferably near the Courthouse where you are being sued, to defend this action for you. One of the things that should be looked at first is whether or not you have been appropriately served with process. Do not delay in speaking with your insurance company or retaining civil defense counsel.
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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.
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