Legal Question in Constitutional Law in Washington

I've received a certified letter from the office of an MD I've recently visited. The letter sent by his office manager requests me to take down a "libel statement" from a rating website, according to letter after consulting with their lawyer. If I don't then the letter states that I would be sued for the "libel statement".

My post is completely truthful, so I'm first appalled that this MD thinks that in his authority he can take away my first amendment constitutional rights OR ELSE.

I've researched a bit about this and to my understanding from reading about libel statements, he doesn't have a case against me because he couldn't prove that I lied (because I haven't) and that's the first of four things he has to prove "libel statement" has occurred.

I have an even stronger defense if he is considered a public figure rather than a private figure because he would ALSO have to prove "malice" if he's considered a public figure.

Who categorizes him as either public or private figure? The court? What are doctors usually considered? This would make my case as a defendant an even stronger one if he were considered a public figure.

Sorry if it seems petty, but the whole world seems to be leaving reviews on different rating websites to tell their experiences and the anonymous ones to me have no credibility because you really don't know who's really posting, but in my case I'm not anonymous and he could just as easily reply to my comment and attempt to make it right. Instead, he attempt to take away my liberty of speaking/writing my mind. Some of the reviews I've seen out there are way more harsh than me, yet here I am being asked to shut it or ELSE!

Asked on 6/10/11, 12:04 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Mitchell Interaction Law

It is not unusual for people to threaten baseless legal action to achieve an end result to which they are not entitled by law. While I cannot say whether your statement is truthful, you are correct that truth is the best defense in this kind of case. As for being a "public figure," I doubt it. Most doctors are not. Sure, some may run for public office or engage in public debate over the airwaves, but just practicing medicine, alone, is not enough to become a public figure.

Read more
Answered on 6/10/11, 2:46 pm

Related Questions & Answers

More Constitutional Law questions and answers in Washington