What to do if I recently opened a martial arts school and people from another school are trying to spread negative information about me?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2012

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What to do if I recently opened a martial arts school and people from another school are trying to spread negative information about me?

They are telling people that I am claiming certain credentials, which I am not, and that I am a fraud. They have made the statement that they will “pay me a visit soon”, which I think sounds like some type of threat. Is there anything that can be done? Also, I’ve already contacted them with a cease and desist letter, and they refuse. My issue is that they will potentially prevent me from having customers. They are also students and coaches from another martial arts school.

Asked on October 2, 2012 under Business Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If they are making untrue factual statements about you, which harm your reputation, they are committing defamation, and you could sue them for compensation and/or a court order requiring them to desist. (It must be untrue factual statements--opinions, like "His martial arts suck," or true facts, even if negative, like "He does not teach ground fighting at all"--assuming you don't teach ground fighting--are not defamation.)

If they are threatening, intimidating, or harassing potential customers, they are commiting tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, and you again could sue them.

If they are threatening you, you may have grounds to press charges or seek a protective order.

You may well have legal recourse; you should consult with an attorney about how best to protect your interests.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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