What should we do if an individual wants to sue us for defamation of character?

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What should we do if an individual wants to sue us for defamation of character?

This man is my son’s little league coach and our son witnessed him put his hands on a teammate behind the dugout. Another child saw it as well. We spoke to the child’s father who asked us not to pursue the matter therefore we didn’t. A friend was in our home and was discussing issues concerning the same coach and we relayed to him about the incident out son witnessed. This parent went to the school board and repeated this incident and numerous other incidents concerning the same man. When it came time to approve this coaches voluntary position in another sport, the school board did not approve him. The reasons being are unknown. We ourselves never spoke to the school board.

Asked on June 21, 2014 under Personal Injury, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You may not have spoken to the school board, but you did speak to another person--that's all that's required for defamation. The issue  then will be whether what you said was true (and can be proven to be true), since a true statement, even if unfavorable to a person, is not defamation (and also opinions are not defamation)--only an untrue factual assertion, made to another person, can be defamation. Of course, even if everything you said was true, it's almost impossible to stop another person from at least filing a lawsuit against you, though if what you said was true, you may have a good defense in and to any lawsuit.


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