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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
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    6

    Default Is a Business Laible for Defamatory Statements Made by the Owner's FiancÚ

    My question involves defamation in the state of: Texas

    I have a start up business. One of the verticals I serve is healthcare. My fiance is a doctor. He introduced me to a higher up doctor in his hospital and tried to help me get business. The first couple of meetings started well, but my fiance kept calling it "our business". it's not. And my co-founder/developer/initial investor became very angry that he was stating this. It got under his skin so much, he claims that is the reason he pulled out from our business completely.

    I was dumbfounded and really left in a lurch. My fiance became angry and accused me of telling my co-founder bad things about him..he couldn't understand why he was so sensitive and left. Regardless, we continued conversations with this other doctor/executive...went to meetings and I (as CEO) ask him to be on my board of directors. He already told me he was considering investing in my company and he said that HIS hospital (where my fiance works) was also "in".

    All of a sudden this doctor/executive stopped contacting me. He never signed the legal documents my lawyers drew up for him offering him 3 percent equity (over time) for being on my board...and an opportunity to invest. Instead he suggested he might BUY my company. But he never did.

    My initial belief was that my developer (former co-founder) talked with him and told him not to work with us. I just left it alone...but it has been a bitter pill to swallow. This was 3 months ago.

    A week ago, my fiance told me that he told his colleague the story about this doctor/hospital executive and how he tried to BUY "our company" but didn't get the right amount and that's why my deal with his hospital went south. He called this executive a "crook" and "opportunist" to the colleague...he was peaking with.

    Well, it got back. The doctor texted my fiance and told him that he might get a lawyer for slander...and that he couldn't believe what he heard about himself. My fiance texted him back... and told him that he didn't like the way he was talking about "our business" (IT"S NOT HIS BUSINESS! HE HAS NO EQUITY AND WILL NOT HAVE BECAUSE HE HAS RUINED HIS CHANCES IMO). He went on and on about how the guy was a crook and that he "used us" ...to get free product and never followed through.

    So I am in a hot mess. The doctor/executive never contacted me at all. But I am worried that my fiance is acting like he represents my company. Do I need to worry? Also, I'm concerned if I tell my company lawyers...they will have a BIG issue with all of this and worry that we have disclosure issues for the future. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    15,121

    Default Re: Fiance Made Disparaging Comments About His Colleague/Related to My Business

    Interesting...

    You posted under this screen name last April as the fiancÚ who felt he got screwed by your deal with the investor. Now you are posting as the other person, saying that the fiancÚ did the reverse to you.

    Personally, I would dump both of you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Fiance Made Disparaging Comments About His Colleague/Related to My Business

    Yeah I did actually post as if I was him last april...because he kept telling me that "I" was the problem and "I" owed him. But in this case...I got exactly what I predicted. I lost my funding/investor and now worry about legal issues.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,657

    Default Re: Fiance Made Disparaging Comments About His Colleague/Related to My Business

    Assuming you aren't fibbing again, the legal issue you should worry about is the attempt YOU made to bribe the "doctor/executive".

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    1,100

    Default Re: Fiance Made Disparaging Comments About His Colleague/Related to My Business

    you need to be speaking with your corporate attorneys.

    And I would be dumping that fiance....he's a hot mess...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Fiance Made Disparaging Comments About His Colleague/Related to My Business

    I never made a "bribe" to the doctor! He asked to be a part of the board of directors and we had legal documents drawn up by the formation attorneys...granting him a small portion of equity if he worked a certain number of hours per month on my company.

    That is NOT a bribe!

    My biggest fault is allowing all of this to continue and letting him control my actions and plans.

    I did email my formation attorneys and let them know this happened. I am assuming they will want to give my fiance and cease and decist?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: Fiance Made Disparaging Comments About His Colleague/Related to My Business

    Quote Quoting lotosu2
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    I never made a "bribe" to the doctor! He asked to be a part of the board of directors and we had legal documents drawn up by the formation attorneys...granting him a small portion of equity if he worked a certain number of hours per month on my company.

    That is NOT a bribe!

    My biggest fault is allowing all of this to continue and letting him control my actions and plans.

    I did email my formation attorneys and let them know this happened. I am assuming they will want to give my fiance and cease and decist?
    Why, for the love of all that's good and sparkly in this world, are you still engaged to this person?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    2,657

    Default Re: Fiance Made Disparaging Comments About His Colleague/Related to My Business

    Quote Quoting lotosu2
    View Post
    I never made a "bribe" to the doctor! He asked to be a part of the board of directors and we had legal documents drawn up by the formation attorneys...granting him a small portion of equity if he worked a certain number of hours per month on my company.

    That is NOT a bribe!

    My biggest fault is allowing all of this to continue and letting him control my actions and plans.
    Such a request from him or offer by you while you are discussing selling goods or services could easily be considered a bribe offer/kick back request.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Fiance Made Disparaging Comments About His Colleague/Related to My Business

    THAT is what my fiance thought was crooked. However, my lawyers asked him if there would be a concern of him "double dipping" and he said no. He literally said not a concern at all....to MY lawyers. My lawyers said it was not my job to research past that...we could take him at his word.

    But now you know why my fiance was so angry -- HE accused him of that and was trying to get the word out around the hospital that he was a "crook" for that reason. So is my fiance justified?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    1,067

    Default Re: Fiance Made Disparaging Comments About His Colleague/Related to My Business

    Quote Quoting lotosu2
    View Post
    Do I need to worry?
    As phrased, this question raises no legal issue.

    You made mention of slander, but nothing in your post suggests any such thing occurred. Without more, saying someone is a "crook" and/or an "opportunist" is not actionable.

    Quote Quoting lotosu2
    View Post
    I'm concerned if I tell my company lawyers...they will have a BIG issue with all of this and worry that we have disclosure issues for the future. Thoughts?
    I don't really understand your concern.

    Sounds like you need to tell your fiance to mind his own business and consider not being involved in business dealings where he has relationship with your business partners. Either that or just dump him.

    Quote Quoting lotosu2
    View Post
    I am assuming they will want to give my fiance and cease and decist?
    Despite your use of a question mark, this sentence isn't a question, and we're obviously in no position to speak intelligently about what your attorneys might want to do.

    Quote Quoting lotosu2
    View Post
    So is my fiance justified?
    Justified about what? We're here to address legal issues, not opine about whether some unknown person should or shouldn't be angry about something that's only been vaguely described.

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