Can I bring a case against a realtor for slander/libel?

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Can I bring a case against a realtor for slander/libel?

My wife and I are were in the process of purchasing a new home and selling our current home. To sell our current home we needed to have the roof replaced. In the process of having the roof replaced, our contractors left the roof fully exposed during a bad storm. Our house is now in the process of being gutted and repaired. We had to back out from the other house deal due to this incident. We have come to learn that the realtor from the other property has been telling people that we are making the situation up just to back out from the other house deal. My family and I are displaced from our home, probably for several months, and currently living in a hotel. My wife was so upset to hear of this accusation that she instantly burst into tears. I myself am very upset, not to the point of tears, but extremely offended due to the fact we live in very small community and do not want to be known as having fraudulent intentions or tendencies. Just need to know if there are any actions we may take against this individual, or do we just have to allow her to continue spreading malicious rumors about our family.

Asked on August 5, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

To spread factual untruths--lies--about another person is defamation: since you can prove that the damage, etc. actually occured (and therefore that you did not make this up), you can prove that the realtor's statements are false. That means you appear to be able to bring a viable defamation case.
In that case, you can seek a court order that the realtor stop defaming you. You can also seek monetary compensation, but unless you can substantiate or prove some losses from this (e.g. that you have lost a job or customers, etc. due to this) are unlikely to get much compensation.


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