Can a person be held accountable in any way for telling the husband his wife is cheating and what she said about him?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a person be held accountable in any way for telling the husband his wife is cheating and what she said about him?

I want to know if her or her husband can hold me accountable for liable slander or, worse yet, if he commits suicide/murder because of it I’m just checking the legal ramifications that could come back to me for letting him know the truth about his wife.

Asked on January 12, 2018 under Personal Injury, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You would not be liable if you tell the truth: any person can tell another person any true thing which they are not prohibited by an agreement or contract from disclosing.
If *any* part of what you say is factually untrue, you could be sued for defemation (defamation is an untrue factual assertion which damages a person's reputation)--possibly for a large amount. Of course, even if what you say is true, if you are sued for defamation, if you can't prove that--for example, the only witnesses to or participants in or to the cheating or statements deny them--then you could lose the lawsuit. Remember: the court has no way to know what actually occured or was said other than by witness testimony and documentary evidence (e.g. photographs), so you could be in the right but still lose if the evidence (e.g. the witnesses) are against you.
Also, if they end up divorcing, assume there is a reasonable chance you will dragged into it as a witness--certainly, this is not guaranteed, but you have to anticipate that it could occur. 
And as you note, there is the possibility of violence: murder/suicide, as you say, but also possibly violence directed against others, even yourself. (Have you ever heard the saying, "Shoot the messenger"?)
There are many, many reasons to not do this.

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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