My niece has lied to my large family, friends, & associates & told them that I have murdered her husband & I am stealing his pension & social security. She has accused me of identity theft. These lies have caused people to look at me differently. I can prove that her husband is alive, I'm not stealing his pension/social security, & that I'm not using his identity. This has gone on for 8 years. Please tell me what I can do to stop the nasty letters and lies to people that mean a lot to me. She constantly threatens my family & me through emails of doing bodily harm to us. I have proof in writing of these terroristic threats. She has even sent out fake police reports with case numbers from the Chicago Police Department. She emailed my grown kids that the FBI is looking for me. HELP!
In Tennessee, slander is defined as the situation where another person uses speech to injure your reputation in the community or that causes others to not want to associate with you. Libel is similar, but uses the written word to accomplish the same thing. It is an absolute requirement that the speech be fully false to be actionable. Truth is an absolute defense to slander. In Tennessee, the statute of limitation on slander is six months. Even if you prove the statements are false, you are still left with having to demonstrate how your reputation was damaged in the community - not just in the family - but in the community as a whole. If you feel threatened, you can ultimately seek out what's known as an Order of Protection that is a court order limiting someone's contact with you that is harassing you, but to get one, you must feel threatened. Ultimately, with people who get nasty with family and friends, there is usually some sort of root personal cause - such as jealosy, a misunderstanding on some personal matter, or the like. Sometimes slicing through the personal disagreement can resolve the negativity.
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