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How could I sue for defamation of character

Hood River, OR |

One person keep saying abusive words about me. He sent it via email to me , to other person. Could I stop him.

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Attorney answers 4


We need more facts. I am not sure what you mean by "abusive words." I do not know who the "other person" is. You also need damages that were caused by the defamation, if the statements were defamatory in the first instance. Please provide the additional information or go to a local attorney who can review the email, your relationships with the author of the email and with the third party, etc.


Defamation of character occurs when a person publishes an untrue statement about another to a third party. To prevail in a suit for defamation, you must show that someone made a statement about you, to a third person, which was untrue (and not merely a matter of personal opinion or subjectivity), and which caused you a cognizable - that is, expressible in a dollar amount - harm. If you haven't suffered a financially measurable harm that you can clearly demonstrate, then you can't hope to recover anything. (There are a very few types of statements that might be 'defamation per se' - that is, where you can presume harm without having to show it. These include: attacking your integrity in your profession; or accusing you of a crime of moral turpitude.)

It's not clear from your description just what it was that this person said about you. If they accused you of a heinous crime, stated that you're dishonest in your trade, or said something that you can show caused you to suffer a financial loss, then you may have a case. Otherwise, you do not.

You should note also that lawsuits can be extremely expensive. While some lawyers will take a case on a contingent fee basis - that is, they take a percentage of your winnings, and so they only get paid if you win) - this only works if there's a decent likelihood that you will, in fact, get paid. For that reason, the lawyers who work for contingent fees tend to take cases that involve suing what we call "deep pocket defendants" - that is, people with money, like insurance companies. Most individuals can't pay a large fee award even if they're ordered to. They're more likely to declare bankruptcy than pay.

The point is, even though I don't know just what was said, it's far from certain that this is a matter it's possible to win, and even if it was, it's very unlikely you'd get paid anything - which makes it harder to find a lawyer to take the case, which makes winning even more unlikely. The law does not offer a remedy for every unpleasant thing that happens in life, and it certainly can't stop people from being rude on the internet.

Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and are not intended to constitute legal advice, create an attorney-client relationship, or solicit business. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. Information not contained in these posts may create significant exceptions to the advice provided in any response. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br>


The number one thing a lot of people forget when they start talking about defamation is damages. You MUST be able to prove that your reputation suffered as a direct result of the FALSE statements that were made against you. Defamation is mostly something that rich and famous people can use, for example against a tabloid newspaper or tabloid tv show. Unless you are very famous, I'd say forget about defamation. The best solution is to speak with the person and try to reconcile.

The answer given here is for educational purposes only so those who need a lawyer can have a more successful initial meeting with a lawyer of their choice. The statements are not legal advice and the intention of this writing is that no attorney-client relationship is formed by those reading these answers. Also be sure to get a second opinion to the answers given here if you choose to do so.


An opinion is not defamation, only a false statement of fact, but without sustaining a significant monetary loss, the costs likely would far exceed any recovery.

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