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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 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.


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