Can we sue someone for badmouthing my husband regarding an incident that was brought to court?

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Can we sue someone for badmouthing my husband regarding an incident that was brought to court?

About 3 years ago my husband went off on a women who everyday walked her greyhound past our house (we have a corner lot). She would bring it 10 feet in our yard to do its business and not clean up. Husband caught her one day and yelled. In fact he couldn’t pull in drive because she was cutting across it. She filed a menacing charge. He went to court and it was reduced and settled for $100 fee. We actually were told by baliff that he felt wrong person was before judge. To this day she keeps bad mouthing my husband and telling people he tried to run her down with his car. Is there any action we can take against her?

Asked on July 19, 2011 under Personal Injury, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may be able to sue her for defamation. Defamation is the public making (so to even one other person) of a false statement of fact which damages a person's reputation. While opinions are not defamation--this woman is free to say "John Doe is the worst person in the world" or "John Doe was mean to me" or something like that, since those are opinions--what you describe is a factual statement: the woman is stating your husband tried to run her down. Whether that is true or not, it is an allegation of fact (of something that alllegedly occured); and if false, could be defamation. It may be worthwhile for your husband and you to consult with a personal injury attorney, to evalute your potential case. Good luck.


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