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  1. #1

    Unhappy Can I Be Sued for Posting an Online Review

    My question involves defamation in the state of: Hawaii


    I took my car to be fixed. I needed two things fixed: the hatch hinges were broken and the door was sagging. He wrote an invoice saying he would fix them both. When I got the car back I discovered that he didnt fix the door. He made up some excuse so I didnt want to bother. I did not want to take him to court so I posted an online review instead. I only posted true things because I am cautious about libel. Here is the ad.

    http://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/aos/1355308067.html


    A friend of his posted an online response and then started emailing me with threats and insults. Basically "F-you and this and that" and "Im going to sue you". About 5 emails worth which I've saved. A quick check of his name resulted that he is supposedly a "paralegal/bartender/mechanic" from Florida now living in Hawaii and working as a mobile mechanic.

    I dont like anyone threatening me or my family. Plus he called me a redneck which I took offense to. I am Hawaiian and was born in Hawaii plus I have good friends from the South. So I posted an online response to his mechanic ads. Here is the ad.

    http://honolulu.craigslist.org/oah/aos/1344402447.html


    Its my understanding that all he can do is ask the court for a motion to CEASE the review from being posted but technically he cant sue me. He mentioned something about a TRO. But that doesnt make sense in this case. I thought Id ask for advice. Thanks for any help you can offer.


    To make a long story short: I have only posted those 2 pages which Ive linked.

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

    Default Re: Can I Be Sued for Posting an Online Review

    Anyone can sue anyone for anything in the United States. Nebraska State Senator Ernie Chambers even sued the Christian god a few years ago.

    He CAN sue you. But suing you (filing papers asking the courts to award him damages) and prevailing in court (the court finds in his favor and orders you to pay damages) are two entirely different things.

    A TRO? Unlikely to be granted. It's not illegal to post negative reviews online, or anywhere else, for that matter, and TROs are not granted simply because one's feelings are hurt.

    If he gets over his bluster and fuss and actually expends the time, energy and money necessary to file suit, would he prevail in court? Reading over the pages you posted, if I were a judge and he came crying into my courtroom about it? I'd tell him to go home for a diaper change and not show his face in front of me again.

    But my opinion and $5 will only get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can I Be Sued for Posting an Online Review

    The only thing I can see him saying is that hes losing business as a mobile mechanic.

    But Ive never responded to any his emails which typically are like this:
    (excuse the language)

    **** you, punk! I'm tired of ****ing with you. I didn't press charges before because I thought you were smart enough to stop with the posts, but you haven't. Enjoy your stay in jail, asshole! And, thanks for the money. I told you not to **** with me. Pussy!


    On a side note, Im not sure if he even has a business license.
    (most mobile mechanics dont)
    And I found his myspace which says he like to get drunk and smoke pot.
    (I saved the texts saying that, and a picture of him drunk as there were a few)

    Does any of this help me?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Key West, FL
    Posts
    2,350

    Default Re: Can I Be Sued for Posting an Online Review

    If I were you I would research what laws Hawaii has controlling auto repair. Here in Florida we have an extensive statute on the subject.

    He can NOT have you arrested. If he is unlicensed you might have him arrested or at least cited by code enforcment or something. That would give you even more ammunition for your site.

    Assuming he has the money and know-how to sue, he is not likely to win. Truth is a complete defense. Getting an injunction or tro against a website is very difficult. Here is Florida I had a similar site and under Florida and federal law the judge was absolutely powerless to do anything about it. I sued for malicious prosecution and the auto shop (and their insurer) ended up paying me 11k. (And without a confidentiality agreement either.)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Can I Be Sued for Posting an Online Review

    Does any of this help me?
    Help you what?

    Prevent him from blustering? Prevent him from attempting to sue? He can do those til the cows come home, no matter what "evidence" you have.

    Prevent him from prevailing in court? It's not illegal to post negative reviews online. If you're telling the truth and you can back it up, the chances of him getting anything more than laughed at are slim.
    I'm not a lawyer, but I play a researcher on the internet!
    Caution: I bite. WARNING: Do not send questions or complaints by PM. I'm likely to post them publicly and embarrass you half to death.
    I'm training for the MS Society's Bike to the Bay - and blogging about it!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Can I Be Sued for Posting an Online Review

    My friend emailed him to see what hes saying about me and this is what he replied with:


    > The guy is manipulating sound bites for his own benefit. It's a long story. But, to make a long story short, he physically assulted a 60 year old Hawaiian man, who is also a friend of mine, that did a bunch of body work on his car. He then started posting about the my friend, just like the ones he's posting about me, and I called him out on it. From what I gather, the dude's on meth, and trying to get whatever he can for free while reaking as much havoic as he can on the way. I have evidence of the guy stalking me. So, I'm going to file a TRO tomorrow, turn over the stalking evidence to the police, and file a claim in civil court. I really wish the guy would attack me though; hence, the use of such harsh wording, so I can beat his ass like he deserves.

    > Thanks, but I'll take my chances. My degree is in law. Like I said, he's taking sound bites and manipulating them. What's more, he has physically assaulted someone else, and is stalking me. Dude has been doing this for months now, and I've had enough. Besides, you can say what you what you want, when you want, how you want, and to whom you like in this country, but you can't do it in an open forum.



    Hmm... letsee
    I dont know what a sound bite is. I've never assaulted the guy let alone threatened him. Never done drugs. (I dont even smoke cigarettes plus Im a gym buff) And Im not stalking anyone. So basically hes not telling the truth.

    I just post those two reviews over and over. Which I bump from time to time.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Can I Be Sued for Posting an Online Review

    so should i be worried in the slightest?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Can I Be Sued for Posting an Online Review

    As you were already told, "Anyone can sue anyone for anything in the United States". If you are a persistent thorn in the side of somebody who is likely to bring a lawsuit, whether or not it has a valid legal basis, that can happen.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Washington comma the Great State of.
    Posts
    1,211

    Default Re: Can I Be Sued for Posting an Online Review

    Whenever you get worried about being sued about this again, just reread Missy's replies. They're be as true 10 minutes from now as they were when she first answered the question. And then answered it again. And again.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Can I Be Sued for Posting an Online Review

    Well I would be lying if I said I wasn't worried.

    Missys advice was very helpful but even she said that its just advice from one person.

    I am curious to see what others would say.
    And Id love to hear more if you two wish to explain further.




    I do understand that anyone can sue anyone for anything.
    But I can countersue that hes sueing for no reason other than to waste my time.
    (I forget what they call that)


    Perhaps I should add
    "Can I lose the lawsuit based on the information Ive given."


    A thorn in the side works both ways.
    He came in as an unknown third party thinking he can bully me.

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