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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    6

    Default Online Forum Libel

    My question involves defamation in the state of:CA

    http://www.6speedonline.com/forums/a...tems-sale.html

    This is in regards to the link provided above. I'm member 'blinkwatt' and the other party is identified in the post.

    The libel occurs here;

    I shipped the item via UPS insured. 2 weeks later he tells me that there's a
    small scratch on the lens and demands a refund.


    I contacted him the day of receiving the damaged product.

    Within 24 hours he had made threats and insulted me personally.

    The only treat I made was I would move forward with Paypal within 24 hours if I did not hear from him,I never insulted him.

    He filed a paypal dispute. I decided to let PayPal decide the outcome of this case because this user was so unwilling to cooperate civilly.

    I have proof I was wililng to cooperate with him,I can provide emails with headers.

    Is this grounds for libel that can be upheld in small claims? Would I have to file in CA or TX,where the user resides?

    I used to be a very active member of the forum,I used to go to events all the time,heck I even crashed my Boxster at a meet a year ago,so a lot of people know who I am on the forum. I feel like this has just crushed any motivation to be involved with 6speedonline anymore.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Online Forum Libel

    You cannot file a libel suit in small claims court. Small claims is exclusively to recover actual monetary damages suffered.

    As for filing a libel suit otherwise, what damages - actual, monetary or social damages - have you suffered as a result of this forum exchange? Lost your job? Booted out of a professional organization? Wife left you? House got vandalized? Getting harassing phone calls, letters or flaming bags of poo on your porch?

    No?

    "Losing motivation" to participate in a web forum because of a spat with another user is not actionable. Grow a thicker skin, ignore him, and move on.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,835

    Default Re: Online Forum Libel

    I believe CA small claims courts do entertain defamation actions. Check with clerk at the court there.


    HOWEVER, the monetary jurisdiction of a small claims court is small.

    Best course of action, try to resolve it internally.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
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    Default Re: Online Forum Libel

    Quote Quoting BOR
    View Post
    Best course of action, try to resolve it internally.
    What does that mean 'internally'?

    Well after his post and what a couple of forum members have talked to me about the situation,this other party has ruined my name on the forum. I used to be very active on the forum;i attended meets,work shops and made many real life friends on the forum. I feel he has ruined my character for stating actions I never took.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    9,096

    Default Re: Online Forum Libel

    Quote Quoting blinkwatt
    View Post
    What does that mean 'internally'?
    That is lawyer speak for "get over it".

    Well after his post and what a couple of forum members have talked to me about the situation,this other party has ruined my name on the forum. I used to be very active on the forum;i attended meets,work shops and made many real life friends on the forum. I feel he has ruined my character for stating actions I never took.
    We are not asking to be cute... what are your monetary damages realized as the direct result of the actions of the other party?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    3,835

    Default Re: Online Forum Libel

    Quote Quoting blinkwatt
    View Post
    What does that mean 'internally'?

    Well after his post and what a couple of forum members have talked to me about the situation,this other party has ruined my name on the forum. I used to be very active on the forum;i attended meets,work shops and made many real life friends on the forum. I feel he has ruined my character for stating actions I never took.

    By internally, I meant with Paypal, not necessarily a remedy to libel.

    To see if you have a case you need to present the facts to an attorney. If you sue for defamation yourself, you had better have some CASE LAW to back you up.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Online Forum Libel

    Quote Quoting BOR
    View Post
    If you sue for defamation yourself, you had better have some CASE LAW to back you up.
    Do you mind explaining to me what case law is please?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Online Forum Libel

    Quote Quoting blinkwatt
    View Post
    Do you mind explaining to me what case law is please?

    CASE law is also known as the common law, or judge made law.

    Here is CASE law from the U.S. Supreme Court, for example. This is a seminal defamation ruling for public official's suits. Cited in the expertlaw link at end.


    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/htm...6_0254_ZO.html

    CA also has case law on defamation, public official's or not.

    You just can't Caption a complaint as DEFAMATION/slander/libel with no supporting law.

    General overview, not specifically for CA though:

    Per quod defamation:

    Typically, the elements of a cause of action for defamation include:

    A false and defamatory statement concerning another;
    The unprivileged publication of the statement to a third party (that is, somebody other than the person defamed by the statement);
    If the defamatory matter is of public concern, fault amounting at least to negligence on the part of the publisher; and
    Damage to the plaintiff.

    Per se defamation:

    Attacks on a person's professional character or standing;
    Allegations that an unmarried person is unchaste;
    Allegations that a person is infected with a sexually transmitted disease;
    Allegations that the person has committed a crime of moral turpitude;


    http://www.expertlaw.com/library/per...efamation.html

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Online Forum Libel

    I was thinking of keeping my case along the lines of;

    “It is a well known public fact that I,the Plaintiff have not threatened or harassed the defendant in any way, rather the plaintiff offered to work with the defendant, that the plaintiff prides himself on his community and social reputation and that the libel demonstrated by the defendant has severely hindered plaintiff’s abilities to appear and perform his normal social functions,”

    Like I said,I used to be very active on the forum,until a number of members started asking me about the incident. It's almost embarrassing to be associated with such a thing.

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