After much thought, how could I not be spending too much time thinking about all of this, I decided that I’m not running. And I’m not hiding. I’m going to continue as I always have. Speak my truth.
I see no harm in leaving the post up. You’ve seen it, your lawyer has seen it, you have copies, you’ve sent it to other people just to make sure they see this damaging post that they didn’t even know existed. There is no point in me trying to hide it since you have all the ammunition you think you need. It just seemed silly.
Added later: And by the way. If you had written me and asked me to edit it or delete it I probably would have done so. The fact that you went straight to a lawyer and litigation proves my case in my mind. Your first action is always battle.
I have reinstated the blog posts of the past several years. I made a decision several months ago to no longer have anything to do with this person. And my decision today simply supports that. I made the right decision then. My posts stay as they are.
Sue away. Go ahead, keep sending me a dozen emails every day, post your ugly comments to the blog. I’ll save them all but I won’t sully this sacred place with your venom.
I urge you to see what the EFF (eff.org) has to say about blogging — their website is a treasure trove of information for those of us who post our lives in public. 🙂
Thank you, that is very helpful!
The truth is, I’m not worried. I’m upset and it’s put a bump in my day and perhaps, one day if this makes it to court, it will be another bump day.
I have to say I find this all ridiculous. The main reason I see no point in hiding the posts on this blog is because the cat is out of the bag. Can’t put it back in the bag now. They have the post in it’s entirety so it seemed ridiculous to run and hide.
I’m pretty sure that the person can’t prove the one thing they need to prove first. They aren’t reasonably identifiable. I’m pretty sure I can prove my allegations are true.
I will also be calling a friend, who is an attorney and a past city (or was it county) prosecutor to see what she has to say about this matter.
I think that technically this is public space. The issue is whether it can be proven that there has been damage to their public image and monetary damages to their living and whether or not I’m lying. Since I’m not lying I think we have a stale mate. I’m not friendless by any means.
And you are right, they certainly can follow through.
The best medicine for me was the dinner with friends I just had. Balm for the soul it tis.
Hoorah for you! Having to go to court for any reason is no fun, but being proven right is a whole lot of fun.
Here’s what West’s Business Law has to say on the subject (can’t believe I could put my hands on this book, given the disorganization of my library at present, but I needed to refresh my memory):
Defamation of character involves wrongfully hurting a person’s good reputation by making false statements in public (i.e., where a third party is present, so yes, a blog is public if anyone other than you and the plaintiff can read it). Breaching this duty ORALLY is slander; breaching it in WRITING is libel. However, the distinction between written and oral is becoming less distinct. Truth is normally an absolute defense against a defamation charge, except no proof of damage is required for false statements that (1) another has a [sexually] communicable disease; (2) another has committed improprieties while engaging in a profession or trade; (3) another has committed or has been imprisoned for a serious crime; or (4) that an unmarried [person] is unchaste.
In order to prove defamation, the plaintiff must show that you acted with either actual knowledge of falsity or a reckless disregard of the truth. Defamation falls under Intentional Torts. An intentional tort arises from an act which the defendant DESIRED to perform, either in order to harm another or knowing with substantial certainty that injury to another would result. It is the INTENT to perform the original act that is important.
Now, as to whether the person’s name must actually be used, West’s makes no statement, but I think the plaintiff would have to be so easily recognizable to the public that naming them would be unnecessary (i.e., be a public figure, such as an actor or politician). In order for public figures to sue for libel, malice must also be proven.
It is also clear that the
defendantplaintiff must prove the damage to their reputation resulted in some sort of loss (i.e., claims a politician took a bribe cost him the election, gossip that someone drank got them fired from their job), and most jurisdictions do not recognize mental anguish. It is also notoriously difficult to win defamation suits and very expensive to the plaintiff; most lawyers won’t touch defamation cases unless the payout is huge (like when people sue the National Enquirer). Most courts won’t even let defamation suits on the docket if they’re piddly. Some jurisdictions even just make the parties apologize.
Gee, 25+ years of negotiating contracts and mediating disputes is coming in handy in my retirement. Hope this helps some.
Regarding someone’s name:
“What if I change the person’s name?
To state a defamation claim, the person claiming defamation need not be mentioned by name—the plaintiff only needs to be reasonably identifiable. So if you defame the “government executive who makes his home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” it is still reasonably identifiable as the president. ”
While the plaintiff can show that a person could possibly discover who *I* am, it does not follow that seeing my photo and the information that I live in the PNW is enough to inform a stranger who the plaintiff actually is. There are quite a few people in this area with my name (although of course not my face). In fact my “employer” had another employee with my name at the same time for 10 years. I think the key phrase here is reasonably identifiable. I don’t think the plaintiff is in any way reasonably identifiable even if a person has my photo and name. I’m hardly reasonably identifiable myself in my opinion. Unless you know where to find me, literally.
The parts they will have the most difficulty with, as you say, is damages. They can’t prove damages. The second being the defense of “TRUTH.” If I can prove my statements to be true, there is no case. I have enough witnesses in my corner and my own life story to back my claims. It will come down to he said she said at the very least.
Lastly I went to great lengths before writing the post to remove any direct connections to said “plaintiff” to make sure that they would not be harmed (unless you count their personal feelings and I’ve stopped caring about that). There are no references anywhere in my blog to the person except from one word in one post. Their photos, links to their website, their name, all have been removed. The only thing remaining is our relationship title.
The emails have finally stopped. The comments have finally stopped. I have not been served with any papers or contacted by an attorney at this time. So we shall see. For now, I’m going to refrain from writing anything more regarding my opinions about this person and my feelings about their actions and behavior and how it affects me and my family.
As for intent, I knew when I wrote the post their feelings wouild be hurt if they read it. I figured that my own safety and protection were more important to me at that time. But I never intended to harm them with regards to their reputation or livelihood. I went to great lengths to do what I could to make sure that didn’t happen. Before I wrote it I told him to stop reading it. So their spouse read it instead. Seems they are going to great lengths to be harmed, not to avoid harm.
(as an aside, when The Forgiven and I broke up I went back and replaced his real first name, I never used his last name, with The Forgiven and removed all photos of him too. Even on the nice falling in love posts. Man was that a pain in the ass. He was instructed that if he didn’t like being called the The Forgiven and didn’t like how mad I was, perhaps he shouldn’t read it or give it out to his friends. So no, this isn’t about The Forgiven.)
What’s truly interesting is that according to the blog stats that wordpress.com provides, my readership more than doubled over the weekend. Seems the “plaintiff” is sending a lot of people here to read the post. I can not only see how many visitors I get to the blog but how many read which posts. At least that is how it appears, since the post in question is getting a lot of reading this weekend. Since I have still not stated which post it is in my two posts in the past few days, I’m assuming one would need the URL to the post to find it randomly. Or certain keywords. So, I’m guessing he sent people this way. One would think he WANTS to be harmed to help his cause.
All of which makes me think that they don’t really feel their own reputation is damaged but are continuing to do all they can to harm me.
I’m waiting for the Jerry Springer show to call me and invite me to get in a brawl on T.V. 😉
Oh! And thank you!!!!