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    wist coach's Avatar
    wist coach Posts: 19, Reputation: 1
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    #1

    Aug 17, 2008, 06:08 AM
    Defamation or slander against county official
    I had a county health official come into my business for inspection. My cook was in for receiving goods for the weekend. The official started asking personal questions and explaining to my employee about personal issues going on in my life. I have rcently went through a divource. The county official would not stop talking about me while inspecting my business. Do have libel lawsuit against this individual and the county in which I live. Thank you for any response
    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,823, Reputation: 2035
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    #2

    Aug 17, 2008, 06:17 AM
    Can you prove it has effected your business/profits?

    I don't see you being able to do much about it other than maybe finding a way to counter or curtail what he said in a light hearted way not in anger or an attitude.
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #3

    Aug 17, 2008, 06:42 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by wist coach
    I had a county health official come into my business for inspection. My cook was in for recieving goods for the weekend. The official started asking personal questions and explaining to my employee about personal issues going on in my life. I have rcently went through a divource. The county official would not stop talking about me while inspecting my business. Do have libel lawsuit against this individual and the county in which I live. Thank you for any response


    Briefly (and I'm quoting myself in another answer) - Generally in law libel refers to permanent/written statements and slander refers to non-permanent/spoken statements. Defamation (of character) covers both categories.

    You must be damaged - and prove damages - in order to recover. The statements (either written or spoken) must be false but presented as though they were true and be beyond offensive, derogatory or insulting. Such statement must rise to a level which actually harms a personís reputation. In general the person making the statement must either know it isnít true or make the statement without attempting to verify if it is true.

    (Obviously asking questions is not defamation. The person MUST give OUT information, not attempt to obtain information.)

    The defense to defamation is that the information was not presented as the truth (which covers gossip or statements such as "I heard that ..."), that the information was never secret (privileged) and was always public.

    Was the County employee out of line? It sounds like it. Should the County be made aware of his conduct? Possibly.

    Does this rise to the level of a lawsuit?

    It depends. What are your damages? Were the statements of the County employee untrue? (Anyone can ask questions; it's up to the other party to refuse to answer.) Was the information given out by the County employee privileged?
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,304, Reputation: 7692
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    #4

    Aug 17, 2008, 12:46 PM
    Well also was everything he said or asked about true?
    N0help4u's Avatar
    N0help4u Posts: 19,823, Reputation: 2035
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    #5

    Aug 17, 2008, 01:29 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Fr_Chuck
    well also was everything he said or asked about true?
    Yeah true or not it may legally not be wrong but ethically and he should be reported even if he can't be sued.
    wist coach's Avatar
    wist coach Posts: 19, Reputation: 1
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    #6

    Aug 18, 2008, 03:45 AM
    Guys, thanks for response. No statements are not true. This official also inspects another business of mine. Yes I have lost business due to the so called rumors since the divource. Most is to cause damage to my companys. Main problem is that the official is telling an employee who knows nothing of my life. There is a code of ethics I believe the county offficials follow. Right?
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #7

    Aug 18, 2008, 04:15 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by wist coach
    Guys, thanks for response. No statements are not true. This official also inspects another business of mine. Yes I have lost business due to the so called rumors since the divource. Most is to cause damage to my companys. Main problem is that the official is telling an employee who knows nothing of my life. There is a code of ethics I believe the county offficials follow. Right?

    If the statements which were made are true, possibly common knowledge, no, there is no legal action here if that is what you are asking - and I believe that was your question, whether there's a claim of defamation or slander against the County "official."

    Should a County employee be asking questions, giving out information - ? That's a matter of not using discretion, his intent - and you certainly could report him to his Supervisor. If it goes that far you will need your employee to testify as to what was said (or, minimally, submit an Affidavit).

    You will also need to prove this was not idle gossip as well as if this was information which the County employee somehow obtained through confidential sources.

    - but I think I've already addressed all of this.
    wist coach's Avatar
    wist coach Posts: 19, Reputation: 1
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    #8

    Aug 28, 2008, 04:43 PM
    Hey guys, thanks for yopur returns. I have received a letter from my employee. You guy stated that the official was asking questions about me personally. No he was giving information to my employee. My employee I see about once every 2 weeks. I am not at this business that much so this info the official has is off the street as we would say. But Who gives him the right to walk into the business and dictate this to my employee who doesn't have any idea about meor what's going on. This official is rambling on about things that are not true at all, let alone to my employee. I have asked a county employee that works in the inspection dept. She said that his butt is or should be in deep trouble let alone the health dept he works for. What do you guys think about this.
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #9

    Aug 29, 2008, 05:40 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by wist coach
    Hey guys, thanks for yopur returns. I have recieved a letter from my employee. You guy stated that the official was asking questions about me personally. No he was giving information to my employee. My employee I see about once every 2 weeks. I am not at this business that much so this info the official has is off the street as we would say. But Who gives him the right to walk into the business and dictate this to my employee who doesnt have any idea about meor whats going on. This official is rambling on about things that are not true at all, let alone to my employee. I have asked a county employee that works in the inspection dept. She said that his butt is or should be in deep trouble let alone the health dept he works for. What do you guys think about this.

    I think I already explained slander/libel and professionalism -

    I see you causing yourself a lot of problems if you report this person and your business if visited by him - or someone from his office - again.

    I see you discussing him with another County employee to be a lapse in judgment - you are talking about him and complaining about him talking about you. I see your employee caught right in the middle here.

    - but that's just my opinion and someone will probably come along and either agree or not.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #10

    Aug 29, 2008, 06:33 AM
    Judy is right, you are doing the same thing to him that you are complaining about him doing to you. What you SHOULD be doing is writing a letter to his supervisor complaining about unethical conduct.
    wist coach's Avatar
    wist coach Posts: 19, Reputation: 1
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    #11

    Oct 3, 2008, 04:06 AM

    Hey guys, been some weeks since I asked questions on this problem. I have seen the county supervisor on the matter. Also have seen a few attorneys who I know personally. The county supervisor turned pale white after reading the letter from my employee. He asked how far I intended on taking the matter. I told the super that I had not made a decision until I talked to counsel. The letter I received explained in more detail the conversation between my employee and the county official. To keep you up to speed. The official came in for inspection, started explaining to my employee that I was having sex with one of my swimmers(im a coach USA also), that my management business was out of business and that her father was looking for me. Guys I am not sure where his information came from, I cannot wait to find out though. All statements he made are untrue. I still have a good strong management business, that this official does inspect let alone a pub he inspects also. Not having sex with one of my swimmers nor is any father looking for me. Both of the attorneys said I have a serious slander and defamation suit. How do I keep this low profiled. The official has been spoken too and of course he said he doesn't recall the conversation with my employee. My employee said he was a bold face liar. He would be fired on the spot for coming up with the verbage the official used. Is this going to snowball into my business plural. What do you think? I am not sure how far this suff has moved acroos town or where it is going. Thanks
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #12

    Oct 3, 2008, 05:48 AM
    Well you need to decide how far you want to go with this. It appears you have a very good case.

    You would have to show you have materially suffered. Has business gone down or other problems?

    I suspect you can get a settlement from the county that would involve a severe reprimand or termination for this inspector. At the least he should not be permitted to inspect anything you are involved with.
    JudyKayTee's Avatar
    JudyKayTee Posts: 46,503, Reputation: 4600
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    #13

    Oct 3, 2008, 07:15 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by wist coach View Post
    Hey guys, been some weeks since I asked questions on this problem. I have seen the county supervisor on the matter. Also have seen a few attorneys who I know personally. The county supervisor turned pale white after reading the letter from my employee. He asked how far I intended on taking the matter. I told the super that I had not made a decision until I talked to counsel. The letter I received explained in more detail the conversation between my employee and the county official. To keep you up to speed. The official came in for inspection, started explaining to my employee that I was having sex with one of my swimmers(im a coach USA also), that my management business was out of business and that her father was looking for me. Guys I am not sure where his information came from, I cannot wait to find out though. All statements he made are untrue. I still have a good strong management business, that this official does inspect let alone a pub he inspects also. Not having sex with one of my swimmers nor is any father looking for me. Both of the attorneys said I have a serious slander and defamation suit. How do I keep this low profiled. The official has been spoken too and of course he said he doesnt recall the conversation with my employee. My employee said he was a bold face liar. He would be fired on the spot for coming up with the verbage the official used. Is this gonna snowball into my business plural. What do you think? I am not sure how far this suff has moved acroos town or where it is going. Thanks


    Sounds like a strong case IF you can prove damages and your employee is willing to testify, can hold up on the stand.

    I realize you are in Georgia - what is the slander/defamation climate like down there?
    froggy7's Avatar
    froggy7 Posts: 1,801, Reputation: 242
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    #14

    Oct 3, 2008, 07:49 AM

    I have to ask... were you there during the inspection? If so, did you ask the inspector to stop discussing personal matters? If you weren't there, is it possible that the employee who said that he heard this has a beef with the inspector and wants to get him in trouble? I find it odd that a public official there to do a job would discuss such items, but it is possible. I find it much less odd that an employee with a beef with his employer might have started such a discussion, or that one with a beef with the investigator (maybe for something found during the inspection) would make up wholesale lies about this sort of discussion.
    wist coach's Avatar
    wist coach Posts: 19, Reputation: 1
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    #15

    Oct 3, 2008, 01:41 PM
    Guys, thanks for email. The employee has already written a statement and is willing to testify. I explained to him that the inspector was in denial. My employee has never had a beef with the inspector nor Have I or the family. We got a 99 out of 100 that day anyway. My employee said to me is the inspector calling me a liar. My employee was very upset after the conversation. Hes been with us (my family for some time). No one else was in the building at that time. So no to me or myself being there. Situation here in Georgia. Good ol boy network. All attorneys know each other. Probably need an outside area attorney to help with this; yes we have noticed some drop off rate, but look at the country right now. I have had loss of contracts though on my pool management company with in the past year. So I wonder.

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