Is it legal to spread information that damages my company’s future

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal to spread information that damages my company’s future

I have a former partner who has decided to destroy my business.
I have a very small business, I handle estate sales. Being new to running a business I got into debt. early on. I have had contracts for sales that I was late paying off and I was taken to court once and made payments until it was taken care of.

This was last year or earlier business is three years old. I am now starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and am at the edge of a growth spurt and my former partner has decided to dredge this all up and post scathing remarks abut me personally an my business practices. She makes it sound like I set out to rip people off. She has said horrible things in a post to my businesses face book page and who knows what else she has done. It’s possible she is rounding up these ew former clients and trying to get me thrown off the two top venues for advertising sales. This would not just destroy my business, but I have 10 employees it would hurt as well. It could also cause my clients sale to be unsuccessful. Is there any recourse if part of what she is stating is true?

Asked on November 1, 2017 under Business Law, Georgia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If she is posting or saying factually untrue things about you or your business--for example, claiming your business has not honored warranties when you have, or has violated contracts when it is has not--you could sue her for defamation and in that lawsuit seek both monetary compensation and an order (or settlement/agreement with her) that she stop doing this. And if she has committed defamation, you could also sue her for "tortious interference with economic advantage": for using wrongful (tortious) means, like defamation, to harm your business.
The key is, it must be untrue factual assertions to be defamation. True facts--so truly and accurately telling others about the court case against you or the contracts you were late paying--are not defamation and you can't stop her from saying/posting about that. (Anyone may relate true facts.) And things which are purely opinions are not defamation either: so she could say that she feels that you have bad business ethics, and since that is an opinon, not a factual statement, there is nothing you can do about it.

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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