Do I have a defamation case?

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Do I have a defamation case?

Last year I was elected as president of my HOA. The previous board had been harassing homeowners and, in my opinion, subjecting the association to great risk. The previous board members did not like the fact that they were no longer able to make folks miserable. One of them wrote a letter presented at a quarterly meeting accusing me of crimes, to include stealing money. His wife then stood up and verbally accused me of the same and worse. Every accusation made was preposterous and easily disproved. Following this, I was removed during a recall election and have been shunned by many. My family is devastated. Retired Marine and had local political aspirations.

Asked on June 30, 2014 under Personal Injury, Nevada

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You may well have a defamation case: you write that the board member and his wife accused you of crimes, which crimes you did not commit. That is, they publically made a false statement of fact which would have a tendency to damage your reputation. False, damaging statements of fact are defamation. They could have safely offered negative opinions about you, such as saying you were "untrustworthy" or "bad for the community"--those are opinions, and opinions are not defamation. However, making these statements of fact--i.e. that you had done certain specific acts--is what can turn those statements into actionable defamation. It would be worthwhile for you to consult with a personal injury attorney about this situation.


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