If I am writing a book about my life, can someone sue me for telling the truth?

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If I am writing a book about my life, can someone sue me for telling the truth?

Can my dad or ex-boyfriends sue me for telling the truth? Everyone has been telling my story and talking about me like I have no say so.

Asked on April 28, 2012 under Personal Injury, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you are only telling the truth, that is not defamation, since defamation is the public stating(including in a book) of untrue facts which damage a person's reputation. Of course, if somene believes, or wants to assert, that what you said was false, he or she could sue you and you'd have to defend yourself; in the lawsuit, you'd have the opportunity to present evidence of truthfulness. So only writing the truth in theory means you will not be liable for defamation, but it does not guaranty you won't be sued--it doesn't even guaranty you would not be liable for defamation, if you cannot prove the truth of your assertions. Assume that if what you write is embarassing enough, there's at least some chance someone will try to sue you, even if what you write is true.

Also, do not reveal anything which was told to you only because you had agreed to keep it confidential, since doing so could be breach of contract (the agreement to keep the information confidential). And do not reveal information such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, etc.


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