If personally, or with something involving your organization, your reputation for honesty or competence has been defamed by a disgruntled customer, former employee, or competitor, who wouldn’t want to tackle that situation head-on? We would all do it and what often comes to mind is to sue for defamation.
But when the winner of her town’s annual grilling contest and the CEO of a small computer company in the Midwest spoke with attorneys about suing for defamation, they were told, “No, we don’t. we’re not going to do it for you. It’s just not in your best interest.
“I had real proof,” each said in a phone call – still very upset – and asked, “I have the money to pay a lawyer and I want to teach these people a lesson. Why a would a lawyer turn down a solid case?”
So if you’ve spoken with lawyers about filing a libel suit – and been dismissed – today’s story will explain why lawyers often advise their clients not to go to the courthouse of justice, sending an inflammatory cease and desist letter, posting angry comments online or taking other forms of action.
BBQ chef rubbed the wrong way
“Mr. Beaver, I am the victim of a nasty gossip campaign by several people who are jealous that I was named best barbecue chef in our city’s annual grilling contest. This was the first time I had won it. , and they post online that I cheated by duplicating commercially available barbecue seasonings and sauces, which I didn’t!
“No one outside of our grilling community has told me anything yet, but I’m afraid it will happen. I want to sue them for defamation but all the lawyers I’ve spoken to have refused to take my case, saying they wouldn’t and mentioned Barbara Streisand! But what does she have to do with it? Thank you, Alice.
He copied client lists and told us bad things
“All of our employees sign a statement acknowledging that customer information is confidential and held exclusively by the company. They may access it in the course of their employment, but not copy it, nor, if they leave us, use it to solicit our clients.
“But ‘Doug’ did just that! He copied the information, opened his own shop and contacts our customers, spreading false claims about us. But I can’t find a lawyer interested in helping us. Why? “Eric”.
This is called the Streisand effect
I answered questions from my readers by Cleveland attorney Daniel Powell, general counsel for Minc LLC. His firm is recognized as one of the nation’s most accomplished at helping individuals and businesses deal with Internet defamation, content removal, harassment, consumer complaint and review removal, for to name just a few.
Their website is: Minclaw.com and offers a wealth of practical and very useful information along with YouTube videos. The material is so good, so instructive, that I know law professors who recommend it to their students.
Powell explained why experienced defamation lawyers urge caution against clients who want to rush in immediately and file a lawsuit. “Whenever you consider filing a defamation suit, you should consider the possible risks of unwanted exposure that the lawsuit may bring to statements you claim to be defamatory and properly weigh those risks against the potential benefits of the lawsuit.”
Barbara Streisand’s blast backfired
In 2002, a photographer took more than 12,000 photos of the California coastline and placed them in an online database to document coastal erosion. Among them was one of Barbara Streisand’s most stunning areas. Streisand sued the photographer and the companies hosting the image, alleging a breach of privacy and seeking more than $50 million in damages.
“While the lawsuit was dismissed, its efforts to keep the property out of public view had the exact opposite effect,” Minc’s website points out, adding. “Records show that before the complaint was filed, the image had been uploaded a total of 6 times – 2 by his attorneys.
“After the complaint was filed, the image was downloaded over 420,000 times in one month!”
Called “the Streisand effect,” notes Minc’s website, “the term has come to refer to any attempt to suppress information that has the unintended consequence of creating greater interest in the topic than if nothing had The Streisand Effect can be so damaging today that the Internet allows the dissemination of information never possible years ago.
“I’m not a crook!”
Who can forget Richard Nixon’s statement, “I’m not a crook!” For readers old enough to have heard him say that, given Watergate and other scandals, many of us thought, “Oh, yes, you are!”
“And that’s the problem with an off-the-cuff attitude of being too quick to file a libel suit,” Powell points out. “You have to wonder if it’s better to say nothing in a public place than to expose these embarrassing issues to people who may never have heard of them.”
Concluding our interview, Powell clarifies this point: “You should always guard your reputation jealously and have no choice but to bring a defamation action, but that decision can only be made after considering all the considerations with your lawyer.
“Lawsuits are expensive and can be emotionally draining. Lawyers who care about the welfare of their clients provide proper advice when it is not in your best interest to go to court.
Dennis Beaver practices law in Bakersfield and welcomes comments and questions from readers, which can be faxed to 661-323-7993 or emailed to [email protected] Also visit dennisbeaver.com.