Watch Your Mouth Slander and Harassment Are No Joke

 When you were little, your mother might have told you, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  

 Momma was no fool. That was sound advice then, and it's even smarter in today’s litigious world, where what you say really can be held against you in a court  of law. Crossing the line from what you might consider free speech or personal  opinion into libel or harassment territory can cause not only serious acrimony  among neighbors, but it can result in expensive legal consequences as well.  

 Dirty Words

 We all have occasional differences of opinion with our neighbors—and sometimes we might even dislike them outright. That being said, it’s one thing to call your neighbor, board president or manager a jerk, but it’s an entirely different issue to accuse him or her of being a criminal, or a  sexual predator, and then distribute flyers to that effect under the doors of  everyone in your building.  

 “We have had instances where a shareholder reported a board member to Child  Services in connection with an alleged—and wholly meritless—child abuse charge," says Jeffrey S. Reich, Esq. of the law firm of Wolf  Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP in New York City. "We've had board candidates who have raised others'  past criminal conduct, and an instance where one board member accused another  on a public blog of battering his wife.”  

 All of the cases mentioned by Reich ended up in a courtroom, with accusations  that the person who made the allegations slandered, libeled, or defamed the  other person. Did they merely state—or could they state—what they honestly believed was true? Before that’s answered, a little legalese 101 is needed.  

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2 Comments

  • If a president of the board makes alligations that you swayed and forced a elderly unit owner do something against her will and you are a Nurse and said that is elder abuse and she can report you but the allegations were false He/She also used profanity and intimidating body language and threw me out of the meeting leaving the others board members behind not asking them to leave either
  • I am an 80 years old (Jan !!) new Board President. A 65 year resident recently used some very abusive language to me and sent a slanderous E-Mail to all residents. What can I do to stop it?