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  1. #1
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    Jun 2010
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    Default Possible Defamation by City Council Members

    My question involves defamation/slander in the state of: Ohio

    I am the former Mayor of a small village that has recently went into debt. I resigned my position due to irreconcilable differences with members of council. After about 3 months, I began hearing rumors that I had supposedly embezzled money and was fired due to this. It has sine came up at my sons school and booster clubs in which I am involved. I have had several people ask me or accuse me about it and I do not know what to do, and would like to know if I have the right to sue council for slandering my name

    Any help you can give would be appreciated

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    3,835

    Default Re: Defimation/Slander in Ohio

    I live in Ohio also, as I am not a lawyer take it for what it's worth here.

    Leaving damages out for now, the SOURCE must be proven.

    Rumors of Council members passing it on is not weighty evidence.

    If you were Village Mayor, you must have had some type of professional friends/associates. If some were lawyers, consult them.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Key West, FL
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    2,350

    Default Re: Possible Defamation by City Council Members

    You would have a real uphill battle.

    First, you can't sue based on rumors. You'd have to track the rumor down and convince people to testify. You'd have to hire a private investigator to track down the source of the rumors. I think you'd be hard pressed to get any witnesses to testify for you.

    In addition to all the usual problems with defamation actions, being political speech complicates it even more. I think you would have real problems winning and if you did, would have a worse time on appeal.

    Calling you a crook, embezzler, criminal, etc. is actually protected speech in a political context. There is recent case law on that. Saying you were convicted of a crime when not true is defamation. The words need to be a statement of fact.

    If it is libel, in writing, it is much easier to form a case. Verbal defamation is much harder to prove and to lock down. People can change, filter, deny their words up to the point of giving a deposition. Even afterwards, they can modify their statements.

    There are other approaches that you could take, but almost all of them would give the rumor a wider audience. I suppose it depends upon how it is circulating now and how many people have heard it.

  4. #4
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    May 2010
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    Thumbs down Re: Possible Defamation by City Council Members

    Quote Quoting HelpwinOhio
    View Post
    My question involves defamation/slander in the state of: Ohio

    I am the former Mayor of a small village that has recently went into debt. I resigned my position due to irreconcilable differences with members of council. After about 3 months, I began hearing rumors that I had supposedly embezzled money and was fired due to this. It has sine came up at my sons school and booster clubs in which I am involved. I have had several people ask me or accuse me about it and I do not know what to do, and would like to know if I have the right to sue council for slandering my name

    Any help you can give would be appreciated
    Thats not defamation/slander,
    thats politics

    You may not have the right to sue,
    but you do have the right to grow a little tuffer skin and run for re-election and prove them wrong.

    Quitting mid-term only adds fuel to the fire…

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