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  1. #1
    RHAS4 Guest

    Libel Slander By A Public Offical In A Town Board Meeting

    STATEMENTS ABOUT LICENSE PLATE SWITCHING ON CARS AT MY HOME AUTOMOTIVE BUSINESS MADE BY A SMALL TOWN MAYOR AT A TOWNBOARD MEETING , THE BOARD PANEL WILL TESTIFY TO WHAT HE SAID IN A COURT OF LAW THE STATEMENTS ARE TOTALLY FALSE AND CAN BE PROVED DO I HAVE A CASE?
    Last edited by RHAS4; 11-14-2001 at 11:42 PM.
  2. #2
    I AM ALWAYS LIABLE is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
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    Re: Libel Slander By A Public Offical In A Town Board Meeting

    Originally posted by RHAS4
    STATEMENTS ABOUT LICENSE PLATE SWITCHING ON CARS AT MY HOME AUTOMOTIVE BUSINESS MADE BY A SMALL TOWN MAYOR AT A TOWNBOARD MEETING , THE BOARD PANEL WILL TESTIFY TO WHAT HE SAID IN A COURT OF LAW THE STATEMENTS ARE TOTALLY FALSE AND CAN BE PROVED DO I HAVE A CASE?

    My response:

    Much like testimony in a courtroom is protected, privileged, and immune from defamation lawsuits (to encourage testimony), so too is speech in a townhall meeting, no matter how groundless or false. Townhall meetings are places where ideas are exchanged and concerns are aired, and potential problems are brought to light. Without the defense of complete protection, the free exchange of information and, hopefully, change for the betterment of the community at large, would soon become abated and people would be too afraid to speak for fear of retaliatory lawsuits.

    For example, a cause of action for intentional interference with prospective economic advantage on the basis of an honest statement of fact or opinion is barred by the First Amendment to the Federal Constitution, and by article 1, section 2 of the California Constitution. [Blatty v. New York Times Co. (1986) 42 Cal.3d 1033, 232 Cal.Rptr. 542, 728 P.2d 1177; Copp v. Paxton (1996, 1st Dist.) 45 Cal.App.4th 829, 52 Cal.Rptr.2d 831 (claim may not be based on speech entitled to constitutional protection); Hofmann Co. v. E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co. (1988, 1st Dist.) 202 Cal.App.3d 390, 248 Cal.Rptr. 384 (stating that speech relating to matters of public concern is protected even if opinion is falsely and insincerely held)]

    So, in summary, even if the Mayor's statement, opinion or belief was completely groundless, or even stated with ill intention, his statement concerning your alleged license plate switching is protected speech - - within the confines of the townhall meeting.

    Now, if he repeats his statements outside of the meeting, that's another story, and you might, in fact, have grounds for a defamation lawsuit. But, again, if it's said inside the meeting, and during the meeting hours, then it's completely protected speech.

    IAAL
    Last edited by I AM ALWAYS LIABLE; 11-15-2001 at 01:02 AM.

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