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  1. #1
    MissV is offline Junior Member
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    Process to File Libel Suit

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? NC

    I have researched NC defamation law as suggested in other posts. Now: what are the steps? Are there specific forms, or must I use a legal representative to file the paperwork?
  2. #2
    Proserpina is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissV View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? NC

    I have researched NC defamation law as suggested in other posts. Now: what are the steps? Are there specific forms, or must I use a legal representative to file the paperwork?


    MissV, if you've truly researched these forums you'll know that you will likely need an attorney.

    Defamation suits are incredibly costly in terms of both time and money; you're thinking several years and tens of thousands of dollars to litigate the matter.

    Without further details, it's very hard to advise you further.
  3. #3
    MissV is offline Junior Member
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    Process to File Libel Suit

    Thanks. I'll take my chance on waiting for my question to be answered.
  4. #4
    swalsh411 is offline Senior Member
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    Your question is basically like:

    "I am knowledgeable in this subject and have done a great deal of research. Please let me know the very first step I should take."

    The very first step you should take if you are serious about a libel suit is to go see an attorney. They will let you know if you actually have a case which could be successfully litigated. Most people who think they have a case really don't.

    If you have to be asking questions about how to proceed here, you clearly do not have the knowledge and experience to do it pro se.
  5. #5
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    MissV, if North Carolina allowed for the filing of defamation suits in small claims, then handling an action on your own might not be difficult. North Carolina, however, does not hear defamation suits in small claims. You would be filing your claim in Superior Court. The problem with handling a suit on your own in a higher court is that you are expected to know all of the rules and procedures.

    What exactly is your proposed defamation claim over? Many people who believe they have been defamed actually have not, or do not have an actionable claim. A simple review of what is considered slanderous or libelous can often be enough to tell whether there is a defamation action worth the high cost of pursuing.

    Defamation suits are not considered easy legal actions. A lot of money is often at stake for both parties, so these suits tend to be fought vigorously, which prolongs the court action and ratchets up the cost of litigation significantly. The party who has an experienced attorney has a legal advantage.

    If you want to get an idea of what can be involved by going pro se in a defamation suit, you may wish to use the search feature at the top of the page and, in the "User Name" box, enter the name "jci63." jci63's threads center on a defamation suit he had filed in Michigan, and his appeal to Michigan's Supreme Court. His posts indicate in a very real way the time, effort and expense (not to mention the personal costs) that are involved in a suit, and the difficulties of doing it all without an attorney.
    Last edited by quincy; 10-19-2011 at 01:51 PM.
  6. #6
    Free_Advice is offline Member
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    The OP is in luck, lives in NC -- a notice pleading state.

    The OP needs to write a complaint, and go to the clerk's office for the summons .. they'll tell you who can serve it. You then get it served to the opposing party. The process server will send you the receipt of service & the completed summons. You take the rec. of service, summons, and complaint and file them with the clerk.

    For the dates required (return date etc.) see your state's practice rules.

    Not hard to file. Figure ~ 1 mo. process (writing, serving, etc.)
  7. #7
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    Yup. Super easy.

    Unfortunately, that is not all that there is to a lawsuit.
  8. #8
    You Are Guilty is offline Senior Member
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    My success rate on pre-answer motions to dismiss for libel/slander suits is currently hovering right above 70%. With the exception of one case, these complaints were written by actual admitted attorneys, not laypeople. This is an extraordinarily easy thing to screw up, just on the pleadings alone. (And rightfully so - imagine if all it took to successfully sue someone for libel was a poorly worded small claims complaint).

    Best bet: a short consultation with a local lawyer.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tranquility
    Once you get to crazy land, it is only a guess on how to get out.
  9. #9
    Free_Advice is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by You Are Guilty View Post
    My success rate on pre-answer motions to dismiss for libel/slander suits is currently hovering right above 70%. With the exception of one case, these complaints were written by actual admitted attorneys, not laypeople. This is an extraordinarily easy thing to screw up, just on the pleadings alone. (And rightfully so - imagine if all it took to successfully sue someone for libel was a poorly worded small claims complaint).

    Best bet: a short consultation with a local lawyer.
    Are you in a fact pleading state or notice pleading state. With notice pleading, its almost impossible to get a dismissal ... all the OP has to do is list the counts with minimal fact pleading been needed.
  10. #10
    quincy is offline Senior Member
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    Free_Advice, most states have patterned their state rules of civil procedure after the FRCP.

    YAG, though, is a New York attorney.

    From what source did you get your "its almost impossible to get a dismissal" statement from?

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