My question involves defamation in the state of: Florida and New York
My former employer is defaming my new business and me.
I used to work for an individual but after not being paid for the work I was doing, I decided to start a similar company of my own.
My former employer issued a Fraud Alert on his website stating that I am involved in credit card fraud and am fraudulently charging his clients. This is not the case AT all. Many of his clients signed up with my service in addition to remaining on his and ALL authorized all charges directly with me.
He posted all of my and any of my affiliates contact information, and said that the local police department is interested in questioning me. This is also not at all true. I contacted said police department and they said that neither I nor my company are under any suspicion, and they have no need for questioning me.
Since this false defamatory "alert," I've lost several clients (I have refunded anyone who has asked to be refunded...no questions asked).
Clients have also contacted me saying that he has contacted them and told them that in addition to the above, that I physically broke into his office and stole his laptop and cell phone. Not only is this false, it's impossible...I am geographically based halfway across the country.
What recourse do I have against this individual. He is falsely accusing me of criminal activity, causing me to lose business, and lying about police and government investigations?
Is litigation necessary? What can I do to stop this defamation?