Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Ohio

Defamation on Character

Do I have a case?

A customer called where I work asked about her account, did not like the answers I gave her so she emailed a third party, not my employer, stating several lies about things I said. The third party then sent it to my VP who then sent it to my manager. I was called to my managers office and questioned about the email. I was on the verge of getting fired, I was in tears over her lies, and the only thing that really saved me was a coworker happened to be in my office and heard my part of this phone call and was able to verify that what the customer was saying was indeed untrue. I do have a copy of the email where she calls me by name and stated several lies. I have been very upset that one lady could almost get me fired from where I have worked for 7 years. Do I have a case?

Asked on 6/13/08, 1:57 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

J. Norman Stark J. Norman Stark , Attorney, Architect

Re: Defamation on Character

Dear Defamed: Here's the basic, controlling law:


***{10} Defamation, which includes both libel and slander, is a false publication that causes injury to a person's reputation, either exposing the person to public hatred, contempt, ridicule, shame or disgrace, or affecting the person adversely in his or her trade of business. Slander refers to spoken defamatory words, while libel refers to written or printed defamatory words.

***{ 32} Written defamation is referred to as libel. Libel is generally defined as "a false written publication, made with some degree of fault, reflecting injuriously on a person's reputation, or exposing a person to public hatred, contempt, ridicule, shame or disgrace, or affecting a person adversely in his or her trade, business or profession."

{33} To prevail on a libel claim, a plaintiff must prove five elements: "(1) a false and defamatory statement; (2) about plaintiff; (3) published without privilege to a third party; (4) with fault of at least negligence on the part of the defendant; and (5) that was either defamatory per se or caused special harm to the plaintiff."

Retain an experienced Attorney to advise, assist and to represent you. Good luck. Sincerely, J. Norman Stark

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Answered on 6/13/08, 3:51 pm

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