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Is this a textbook example of libel? What to do? Texas

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  • Is this a textbook example of libel? What to do? Texas

    After having a discussion regarding religion and politics in some (international) message board, these people got mad at me and threatened that they would find me and e-mail my boss to get me fired. At first, I thought they were joking, but this morning, I got a call from my boss telling me that he received about 30 or so e-mails accusing me of being an Islamic terrorist (mind you i'm a church-going christian) and someone with psychopathic tendencies (i haven't even received a parking ticket in my life and everyone around me knows me as a decent, calm and friendly person). Of course my boss didn't believe in the e-mails but he was very surprised. He said that several people in the company saw the e-mails and some were surprised to read it and a couple even wondered if that stuff is true. This caused stress to me and it could have cost me my job (then my house and everything I own).

    Now our company's lawyer has the IP addresses that sent all these e-mails. They all seem to come within a window of 2-3 hours and the e-mails seem almost identical (almost a copy & paste job with some alterations here and there). Can this be considered an "organized crime" since a group of people organized together in order to commit the act?

    Also, can I take legal action against these people even though I did not necessarily lose my job. It caused a lot of stress, made some of my coworkers highly doubt me, damaged my character (even though people say they don't believe those e-mails, they will continue to doubt). What do you guys think?

    Oh also, if some of those people live in different states than me, how does the whole court thing go? Do they get tried according to my state's laws or their state's laws? They also threatened that they sent similar e-mails to certain government agencies but I have no way to verify whether they actually carried on their threats or not.
    Last edited by xtian991; 04-27-2013, 05:44 PM.

  • #2
    First and foremost, can you prove who said what?
    Second, can you prove damages?
    Third, unless you hire a lawyer odds are you may be stuck with going to small claims court.
    Fourth, will going to court be worth the effort, time and money spent?

    I have been there before. It really sucks. But sometimes even as much as it hurts you may have no choice but to let it go.

    Technically speaking (even though I am not a lawyer) in Texas, defamation of character covers false statements made to injure someone else's reputation. Texas uses the phrase "defamation of character" to cover incidents in which someone makes a false statement to injure another person's reputation or imply the person has bad character. Defamation of character includes libel, in which such statements are written, and slander, in which such statements are spoken.

    You will have to prove defamation of character, in which you will have to demonstrate that the defendant made a false statement to a third party about the plaintiff with the required degree of fault. The amount of fault required differs depending on whether the statement is about a public official, a public figure or a private individual (courtesy of eHow.com).

    I suggest that you talk to a lawyer on this. I can only give you ideas, and nothing else, as I am not a lawyer.
    I don't believe what I write, and neither should you. Information furnished to you is for debate purposes only, be sure to verify with your own research.
    Keep in mind that the information provided may not be worth any more than either a politician's promise or what you paid for it (nothing).
    I also may not have been either sane or sober when I wrote it down.
    Don't worry, be happy.

    http://www.rcfp.org/taping/index.html is a good resource!

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    • #3
      Unless the people who sent the emails have money, going to court will end up costing you your lawyer fees and not getting much in return.

      You might be able to sue them in your state since the incident happened there but you would still need to subpoena them in their home state.

      What are you looking for ultimately? Are you seeking vindication or money? Also if you continue interacting with them, you may end up with them continuing to try to interfere with your life.

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      • #4
        You noted you didn't end up losing your job over this.

        You can talk to a lawyer but what you receive (if anything) if you sue may not be worth it.
        Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

        Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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        • #5
          Sounds like a classic troll on a message board. Contact the administration of the website, and explain the situation. That should get them banned. if this does not work, you need to see a lawyer. Good luck.

          Having been a moderator on such a site, (which is why i do not want to be one here!!) The offending parties when faced with suspension of their activities usually calm down and play nice. Only a few do not. I still have friends of widely differing opinions from those days. Once they learned to respect the inner honesty, they came to respect my opinion, if not my position. I am a centralist, and have friends from extreme left and right. It was a political board.

          Feel free to PM me if this continues. I love a good debate.
          Last edited by GotSmart; 05-03-2013, 12:22 PM.

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          • #6
            I suspect they tracked you back based on information you either posted or the computer/IP address you posted from. I suggest changing IDs and possibly just staying away from that forum for a while. I suggest NOT using a company/employer computer to post/read from. And I suggest being very very careful about what personal information you give out.

            It is always surprising to me how much personal information people put out on the WWW for all to see. I don't know your age, but I find this happening more and more especially to those who don't remember a time without cell phones/computers/etc.

            I am not sure I would pursue going after them. Instead I would focus on being the best employee possible so that in the future, if it were to happen again, no one who knew you would doubt you!

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