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?

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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

Answers:

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.


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