My question involves defamation in the state of: Texas
A little bit of background information (and I apologize in advance for being long-winded). We own a local DJ and MC company that provides entertainment and event coordination in the Houston Metropolitan area. Collectively, the major talent of this company has been servicing this area for almost 13 years. For the last three years, we were the vendor of choice at the venue mentioned below.
The relationship with the owner of the catering company (who was also the unofficial management of the venue) became bitter (most likely due to personal reasons). However, we were able to easily continue providing services to all clients related to the venue with virtually zero interference.
On October 24th, 2010 we were completing an even when the owner of the catering company handed over a letter & verbally stated "You have been served". The letter was on the catering company's letterhead and stated the following:
It is unfortunate that our professional relationship must come to an end. Effective immediately (name of catering company) and (name of venue) will no longer require your contracted services.
In addition, understand that (name of catering company) and (name of venue) are registered company names and are solely owned. Any use of these names by you or anyone working with or for you is prohibited. These names may only be used if prior written consent is obtained from (owner of catering company) or (owner of venue). This includes but is not limited to advertisement, postings, blogs, photos, etc.
Effective immediately, (employee) and (employee) are no longer welcome on the property of (address) for any reason. Any attempt to gain access without specific authorization by me or (owner of venue) will be viewed as a violation and reported to the proper authorities.
Owner of catering company
Cc: Sheriffs Dept
Cc: Police Dept
Cc: Owner of Venue
To be quite honest; I have no idea (absolutely none) why we were handed this letter. We and the owner of the catering company had done business together for a very long time. We are an extremely professional company with the customers interests in mind (after all, we are in the business of creating the most pleasantly memorable experience).
In response to what is written in the letter:
Para. 1 we do not provide services to either of the companies (venue, nor caterer), we provide services on an individual contract basis.
Para. 2 All references to the venue were removed from our website.
Para. 3 The persons listed have not returned to the property.
When asked why the two people listed in the letter were no longer welcomed, she said it was because of an email sent calling names; however, we never did such a thing. It is believed this relationship came to an end because we would no longer provide free/discounted services to the catering company's friends and family.
Regardless, the fact that we were no longer welcomed did not bother us too much. It was stated by us that it was indeed unfortunate that the business relationship had come to this, and noted that the letter and manner in which it was served was not legal (as I now understand; one must have a verifiable history of criminal activity before one can successfully obtain a trespassing restraining order. This was no order, it was a notice). We have every intention of honoring their request and the two people mentioned in the letter would no longer step foot on the property.
Now it is mid December, and in the usual manner in which we contact our clients to finalize details, we contact a client who is booked at the a fore mentioned venue for a January 15th event. Not a problem, as we have other event professionals fully qualified to fulfill the contract (that are not listed in the letter). Then again, we are told by the client that their event has been canceled. We informed the client that we were sorry their event had been canceled; however, they are under contract and that a cancellation would incur fees as agreed to in our contract. To which the client responded, "Just to clarify - our event has not been entirely canceled. We were simply notified by (event venue) that we unfortunately could no longer use (our company)"
We believe this to be very unfortunate, as in our history we have had only one notable complaint from a client, and never have we had a cancellation. I believe a representative from the venue went out of their way to tarnish, ever so slightly, our company's reputation by doing these things. We are seriously considering hiring a lawyer; however, we are a tiny bit ignorant to the laws that may or may not have been broken in our particular case. Our company is small, bringing in less than $30k a year, but we love what we do and we do it very well.
Any advice, or general discussion would be greatly appreciated.