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  1. #1
    FredBird is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    1

    Legal Notice a case for defamation

    What is the name of your state? Missouri

    I recently purchased a small business from an individual. After 2.5 months we have become aware of numerous debts, large and small, this individual owes in connection with the business. Because we kept the business name we have been contacted by a variety of vendors and legal entities concerning these debts. We were advised to post a legal notice in our local paper stating that we would not be repsonsible for any of these debts incurred prior to our purchase. In the legal notice we stated that:

    "MY NAME" & "MY WIFE'S NAME" as new owners of "BUSINESS NAME" are not responsible for any debts, past, present or future by "PREVIOUS OWNER'S NAME" and "HIS WIFE'S NAME" as individuals or former owners of "BUSINESS NAME".

    Obviously I have not included any specific names. The problem is that the former owner's wife is threatening to sue for defamation of character because she was not an official owner or employee of the business. She, however, had her name on at least one vehicle title that was part of the purchase and owns the building that the business is housed in and is charging us rent.

    Is the inclusion of her name in a basic notice such as this grounds for defamation since she is married to the previous owner and had connections with the business? We were told in our state (Missouri) that since it was set up as a sole proprietorship (DBA) that the spouse is still ultimately responsible for debts incurred by the owner.

    I would appreciate any advice on this including our need to hire an attorney.

    Thank You.
  2. #2
    Quaere is offline Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    434
    If the notice was limited to exactly what you wrote above, you have not defamed anyone.

    In order to defame someone, you have make a false statement about them. You didn't make a statement about the owner or his wife. You made a statement about yourself and the limitations of your obligations as the new owner of a business.

    It makes no difference whether the wife was involved in the business. You could write a notice like that about ANYONE.

    Tell the wife she can sue you if she wants but you will not be responsible for the money she will waste in doing so.
  3. #3
    andrew070 is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    16
    Defamation-Slander- When someone makes a 'false' statement/s about another person, in which causes hardship or damage to their well being/ reputation etc.

    It doesn't appear from your post that is what took place. If there is more to the story please share.

    Andy.

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