Can I sue my previous landlord for defemation or slander?

I recently ended a lease with my landlord. In the past few months and more recently I have discovered that not only is he saying derogatory and inflammatory statements to the other tenants about my lease but he went so far as to go down to a local pub and describe it in detail to workers and patrons (quite a few whom I know.) I am already taking him to Conciliation Court for an illegal rent increase. however I need to know if there’s any grounds for this as a case. I feel insulted and debased.

Asked on August 16, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Minnesota

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You could sue your former landlord for defamation.  Defamation is a false statement made with knowledge of its falsity communicated to a third person who recognizes the defamatory content and the statement is injurious to your reputation.

Slander is spoken defamation.  Libel is writeen defamation.

In a lawsuit for defamation, each repetition of the defamatory statement is actionable.

Since the statements are spoken and therefore slander, you may need to prove special damages  which means pecuniary loss such as lost income in order to recover damages (monetary compensation); however, if the slander falls within one of the following categories: imputation of the commission of a serious crime, imputation of a loathsome disease, imputation of characteristics incompatible with your business, trade or profession, you can recover general damages without proving pecuniary loss.  General damages would include compensation for mental distress,  physical illness, medical expense, loss of friends and associates.


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