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  1. #1

    Default Sued for Accusing Someone of Possible Drunk Driving on Public Facebook Page

    My question involves defamation in the state of: michigan and new york

    My aunt has always been a nasty person to me and others and after she didn't tell me about my grandmothers death and I found out from another family member a month later, I told her off about that and several other things she said and did to me over the years. I then posted a copy of my email to my public facebook page, complete with her full name. My question is can I be sued for the following part I wrote:

    “Also, my grandmother once told me a story and I don't know if this is true or not, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was. That you were drunk driving and got pulled over by a cop. Then what supposedly happened is you told this cop about your son kevin being a police officer and they didn't believe you. They then called it in and confirmed you did have a son Kevin who was a police officer and you got away scottfree. Now I don't know if this is true or not. But either it is and you are a terrible person who used your sons position to get out of something you should've gone to jail for or my grandmother lied. If so, congrats, you helped take care of a women who would make up a story like that about you. Assuming that is that you did take care of her. If she was in a nursing home I would assume they did the taking care of. And btw if this really happened you are an even worse person for actually bragging about drunk driving and getting away with it. “

    What I wrote is completely true, my grandmother did tell me that many years ago. However I don't know if it was true what happened or not (but never knew my grandmother as a liar). I am wondering if since I cannot prove it if she can sue me, or if I am safe because I said I didn't know if it was true or not.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,901

    Default Re: Sued for Accusing Someone of Possible Drunk Driving on Public Facebook Page

    Anybody can sue you for nearly any reason. Whether they can prevail or not is another story. Threatening to sue is easy. Actually filing the suit takes more effort. Prevailing is harder yet. If sued, obtain legal counsel.

    Your problem if it comes to this is that you didn't limit your posting to either facts or personal opionion which would likely be defensible. Everything you said aftter "Now I don't know if it is true or not" is per se libelous.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Posts
    8,238

    Default Re: Sued for Accusing Someone of Possible Drunk Driving on Public Facebook Page

    You certainly could be sued. And if your grandmother's statement to you was defamatory to your aunt, then your repetition of the story may also be defamatory. Whether your aunt would win is another story. She’d need to show damages to win anything significant. It's not clear that she has suffered any financial loss, etc., from this. But if she does suffer damages and a jury believes you defamed her, it could cost you. Even if you win, defending the case could still be costly.

    I will also say that putting that message on your Facebook page makes you look petty and vindictive. It does more to reflect you in a bad light than it does her. Perhaps it felt good to vent, but I suggest when you write stuff like that that you put it aside for a few days and then decide whether to post it. With a calmer head, hopefully you'd see how bad it looks. You’d still get the relief of writing out your frustrations, but not make yourself look bad to others. Just my two cents, for what that’s worth to you.

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