If I was the victim of false accusations that will have a detrimental impact on my future employment, etc, can I sue for defamation of character?

I am an intern as a youth pastor at a large church. My stepfather’s ex-girlfriend filed an order of protection against me, accusing me of domestic violence against her son (physical, mental and sexual). As you can imagine the accusations alone will have a detrimental effect on my future. The order of protection was denied because she had no proof of anything.

Asked on September 12, 2012 under Personal Injury, Arizona


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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can file a lawsuit for defamation against your stepfather's ex-girlfriend.  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.

Libel is written defamation.  Slander is spoken defamation.

Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in your lawsuit for defamation) would include mental distress, loss of friends and associates, and if applicable, physical illness and medical expense.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.