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  1. #1
    smithco is offline Junior Member
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    Exclamation Being Sued for Libel/Slander

    My husband is being sued for libel and slander by a co-worker, in small claims court for the amount of $5000.

    The situation runs thusly: about a year ago my husband, in the course of his duties as head mechanic at a concrete plant, brought a series of violations committed by the plaintiff, to wit, improper maintainance of the company truck assigned to him, to the notice of the driver's (plaintiff's) immediate supervisor.

    Apparently there were a number of violations listed in this man's company file and the company decided to suspend him from work for 10 days. At the end of this 10 day period, the driver refused to return to work and instead indicated that he was bringing a Workman's Comp. suit against the company for emotional and financial distress.

    In the course of the ensuing investigation, my husband was deposed by a legal representative for the company to help determine if the plaintiff was entitled to compensation. Ultimately, his claim was denied.

    Now, the driver is claiming that he was subjected to slander and libel by my husband during the deposition, and that my husband's statements led directly to a loss of a 401K retirement fund, which he is now seeking to regain by suing my husband.

    My husband is very upset and concerned. Personally, I don't think this driver has a legal leg to stand on, but goodness knows it's his right to file a motion on any frivolous claim he likes.

    Do you think this man's suit bears any merit? Should we be looking for a lawyer?
  2. #2
    Litigation! is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithco
    My husband is being sued for libel and slander by a co-worker, in small claims court for the amount of $5000.

    The situation runs thusly: about a year ago my husband, in the course of his duties as head mechanic at a concrete plant, brought a series of violations committed by the plaintiff, to wit, improper maintainance of the company truck assigned to him, to the notice of the driver's (plaintiff's) immediate supervisor.

    Apparently there were a number of violations listed in this man's company file and the company decided to suspend him from work for 10 days. At the end of this 10 day period, the driver refused to return to work and instead indicated that he was bringing a Workman's Comp. suit against the company for emotional and financial distress.

    In the course of the ensuing investigation, my husband was deposed by a legal representative for the company to help determine if the plaintiff was entitled to compensation. Ultimately, his claim was denied.

    Now, the driver is claiming that he was subjected to slander and libel by my husband during the deposition, and that my husband's statements led directly to a loss of a 401K retirement fund, which he is now seeking to regain by suing my husband.

    My husband is very upset and concerned. Personally, I don't think this driver has a legal leg to stand on, but goodness knows it's his right to file a motion on any frivolous claim he likes.

    Do you think this man's suit bears any merit? Should we be looking for a lawyer?

    My response:

    Am I understanding you correctly? Are you saying that the Plaintiff is suing your husband, the defendant, concerning something your husband said at a deposition? Is there something else, from some other situation, that he's suing your husband?

    IAAL
  3. #3
    smithco is offline Junior Member
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    Response to Litigation! re libel/slander

    Quote Originally Posted by Litigation!
    My response:

    Am I understanding you correctly? Are you saying that the Plaintiff is suing your husband, the defendant, concerning something your husband said at a deposition? Is there something else, from some other situation, that he's suing your husband?

    IAAL
    That's the entire basis for the plaintiff's case. George (my husband) acted only within his duties as head mechanic and was desposed in the course of the workman's comp. suit. I've been told that the plaintiff somehow obtained audio recordings of the deposition and this is what he's referring to when he says he's been slandered.
  4. #4
    Quaere is offline Member
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    My husband is being sued for libel and slander by a co-worker, in small claims court for the amount of $5000.

    I don't believe any state decides a defamation case in small claims.
  5. #5
    badapple40 is offline Senior Member
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    1. What state are you in? By your not providing a state, we cannot give you advice concerning the exact steps to follow.

    1. Move this out of small claims.

    2. Move to dismiss these claims, on the grounds that the statements have absolute immunity, on the grounds of being made in the course of a lawsuit.
    The giving or taking of any advice given in this forum does not constitute an attorney-client relationship and any readers of any posts acknowledge that they are not in any type of attorney client relationship with the poster.
  6. #6
    lwpat is offline Senior Member
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    Also, the fact the statements were the truth are an absolute defense. Get an attorney to review your answer and motion for summary judgment.
  7. #7
    mtpockets is offline Member
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    Here is a link

    The link concerns California law, but there is also information regarding similar laws in other states. This legislation has been broadly interpreted in California.

    From the site: "What are SLAPPs?
    SLAPPs Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation are civil complaints or counterclaims (against either an individual or an organization) in which the alleged injury was the result of petitioning or free speech activities protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. SLAPPs are often brought by corporations, real estate developers, or government officials and entities against individuals who oppose them on public issues. Typically, SLAPPs are based on ordinary civil tort claims such as defamation, conspiracy, and interference with prospective economic advantage."
  8. #8
    one_and_only is offline Junior Member
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    I am no lawyer, but from the notes in my Business Law class, I believe that badapple40 is completely correct (at least I am certain of this in the state of California). There is an "absolute privilige" against defamation that applies for: Judicial proceedings, depositions, and legislature (e.g. Congress). My guess is that you would file for a MTD.
    Last edited by one_and_only; 03-10-2006 at 06:27 PM.
  9. #9
    Quaere is offline Member
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    The above stated situation would not qualify as a SLAPP.

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