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Can someone who was told a slanderous rumor be compelled to testify?

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dtronvig

New member
In Oregon:

So, A told B a harmful, easily disprovable rumor about me, presenting it as fact. B then told C what A had told him, without vouching for the validity of the rumor itself. C then told me all she'd heard from B. B probably wouldn't voluntarily come forward to testify to what A told him, but if I file suit against A could B be compelled to testify?
 
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Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
In Oregon:

So, A told B a harmful, easily disprovable rumor about me, presenting it as fact. B then told C what A had told him, without vouching for the validity of the rumor itself. C then told me all she'd heard from B. B probably wouldn't voluntarily come forward to testify to what A told him, but if I file suit against A could B be compelled to testify?
You may subpoena B to testify in your trial against A. But before you sue A, you ought to determine whether you have a good defamation case against A and what damages you might realistically expect to win. Most defamation claims are simply not worth bringing.
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
In the terms of the great attorney Louis Nizer, libel actions are often akin to having mud splashed on your topcoat. You can immediately attack it smearing the mud all over the place making a bigger mess, or you can way a day for it to dry up and flake off.
 

Mass_Shyster

Senior Member
Realize that B can also be named as a defendant for repeating the false statement. Even if not named, B would likely be summonsed for a deposition long before a trial got underway.

You also need to know that harm is an essential element of any defamation claim. Someone can call Ron an idiot and a pathetic excuse for a human being, but unless that causes him financial damages, it doesn't constitute defamation.
 

Shadowbunny

Queen of the Not-Rights
In the terms of the great attorney Louis Nizer, libel actions are often akin to having mud splashed on your topcoat. You can immediately attack it smearing the mud all over the place making a bigger mess, or you can way a day for it to dry up and flake off.
Or, in the case of Devin Nunes, you can file suit over someone using the Twitter handle "Devin Nunes' Cow" (@DevinCow) and propel that account from 1,204 followers to 610,000 + followers and growing: https://www.latimes.com/local/abcarian/la-me-abcarian-nunes-20190322-story.html
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
As long as people come here insisting they need to sue someone over some insult. Nizer's one of my favorite legal writers.
It's a good point to bring up...but some dirt will not brush off no matter how long you let it dry and how vigorously you brush at it. Child molestation for one. The stain of that accusation clings.
 

Mountain_Air

New member
In Oregon:

So, A told B a harmful, easily disprovable rumor about me, presenting it as fact. B then told C what A had told him, without vouching for the validity of the rumor itself. C then told me all she'd heard from B. B probably wouldn't voluntarily come forward to testify to what A told him, but if I file suit against A could B be compelled to testify?
I had a somewhat strong Slander case 7 years ago. The attorney did take the case but cautioned me that if we did win and the Defendant has no money or resources then we would more than likely never collect any monetary damages. The case took 8 months and we did prevail in the end. In the meantime, the Defendant transferred assets and we found out property we could have attached was in someone else's name for at least 5 years prior to our suit. The Defendant may have had issues with others trying to sue them years back and decided to transfer titles and assets etc... There was nothing we could do about the property that was transferred into someone else's name because it was done at least 5 years prior. However, the bank accounts and Investments were transferred about 6 months before I won the suit which technically is fraud. But what do you do? Give the attorney more money and prove Fraud. I decided to take the issue no further. The attorney did give me a break as far as upfront monies i had to pay him but still it was a bad decision on my part.: If you do go through with a suit like this- be prepared to shell out large amounts of money to the attorney for upfront costs as well as his or her time. Good Luck.
 

quincy

Senior Member
In the terms of the great attorney Louis Nizer, libel actions are often akin to having mud splashed on your topcoat. You can immediately attack it smearing the mud all over the place making a bigger mess, or you can way a day for it to dry up and flake off.
FlyingRon, you really should retire that quote. ;)

Louis Nizer died in 1994, before the Internet was a familiar means of communication for many. In the internet age, online defamation does not "dry up and flake off" quite so easily. A defamatory statement can be spread to thousands of others around the world with a simple click. The greater the number of people who are exposed to the falsehood, the greater the possible harm to the subject of the falsehood.

I agree with Mass_Shyster that both A and B can be sued for defamation, A for originating the lie and telling it to B, and B for spreading the lie to C. Whether the plaintiff can be successful with any suit depends on several factors, including what exactly was said and why it was said, to whom it was said.

Not all falsehoods are defamatory and not all defamatory falsehoods can support a lawsuit. Below is a link to information on Oregon's defamation law, which you can read through before deciding whether to contact a defamation lawyer in your area.


Good luck.
 
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