Am I at risk of being sued for libel if I discuss the details of my abusive relationship with an ex-partner?

UPDATED: Dec 12, 2013

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Am I at risk of being sued for libel if I discuss the details of my abusive relationship with an ex-partner?

I recently made a public forum post detailing the nature of an abusive romantic relationship I had with another individual. Everything I posted was either true to my experience, information and opinions from third parties, or direct quotes from the abuser. I’m presently in therapy to recover psychologically from the damage done. However, my abuser is frightening and vengeful. And unfortunately wealthy. They have threatened me before if I speak out against them. Am I at risk?

Asked on December 12, 2013 under Personal Injury, Nevada


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you are at risk: if a person feels you have defamed them--uttered untrue factual statements which damage their reputation--they can try to sue you for defamation. Truth is a defense to defamation: that is, if everything you say can be proven true, you  will not be liable . . . BUT 1) it's not always possible to prove truth, in the absence of hard evidence or corrobarating witnesses; and 2) even if you can ultimately prove the truth and prevail in a lawsuit, if you have to defend yourself, it will cost you time, money (if you get an attorney), and emotional distress to be defend yourself. It is often wiser to not "invite" a lawsuit, especially from someone who is "vengeful" and who has greater economic resources then you.

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 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.

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