Legal Question in Business Law in California

Gag order

I am an independent contractor.I was employed by a company for 6 month, the employer had nothing but great things to say about me. He started to loose money he contacted a financial advisor (FA) who told him I should be fired.We seperated under ok terms.FA he hired turned out to be not very good and ended up messing things so bad that he could not fix them. For four month after FA called me on regular basis for help and advice.I helped him in any way I could at no charge. The whole time FA was telling my former employer that it was my fault that things were so messed up. He blamed me for all of his mistakes and created a pretty hostile environment. My former employer now hates me so much that he can not stand even being in the same room with.He feels that I have caused him damages and in front of witnesses said that I have caused him thousands of dollars.I am not worried that he will start legal action, but I am worried about my reputation.I am building a practice in the area and work with a lot of the same people that he does business with.I am afraid that he will start telling people information that is not true, because of what FA is telling him.

What do I do?

Asked on 11/10/03, 10:34 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman
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Re: Gag order

The title of your message refers to a "gag order," which is not something available to you. Courts rarely issue gag orders to parties, witnesses and lawyers before them in high-profile cases that attract media attention, but that is to preserve the integrity of the trial. Gag orders are not issued to stop the spread of false or malicious statements.

You have the option of suing the advisor for defamation of character. You will have the burden of proving that his statements about you are false. You will also want to be able to prove how your reputation has been injured and show any demonstrable financial loss this has caused you. Damages are available even if you can't prove a loss that he caused, but they will be limited.

You can also try writing to your old boss and explaining the situation to him. It may not feel as satisfying as a court victory, but it might be faster, cheaper and more effective.

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11/10/03, 10:51 pm
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
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Re: Gag order

The closest thing you could get to a "gag order" is an injunction; a different name but it accomplished the same result. A motion for a preliminary injunction could accompany the filing of a lawsuit for defamation. Defamation suits are hard to win, but merely filing the suit may be effective in forcing the people spreading false tales to be more cautious.

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11/11/03, 12:10 am
Donald Holben Donald R. Holben & Associates, APC
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Re: Gag order

Possible action for defamation if actual damage can be shown and statements true and/or gag order for future.

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11/14/03, 1:46 pm
Michael Olden Law Offices of Michael A. Olden
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Re: Gag order

Seek the advice of an attorney immediately. If anybody is defaming you personally, or as importantly your business then they are responsible for the damages which arise because of that. More importantly, you may have causes of action for fraud, unjust enrichment and many other kinds of claims against this financial adviser. Remember truth is an ultimate defense to defamation. The only one who can really tell you with you have a good case is an attorney and I would go to at least two to get their opinions of this situation based upon your understanding of the facts. If you wish to consult with me eye and practicing business long California in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 30 years. I am at 925 -- 945 -- 6000.

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11/11/03, 10:04 am

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