Letter To Editor: “Defamation, Slander, Law Suit” Fun!

Life at theFrontSteps is nothing but sunshine and roses. Ummm, maybe not. Today, we give you the most recent friendly email to come our way, with a few things [removed] to protect privacy:

[Editor], It is unfortunate that I have to write you this email. A client of mine [removed] sent me this link to one of your blogs. Please know that if you continue to [post certain things] on-line, I will file a defamation of character and slander law suit in 5 minutes. You did not mention me by name, but have already affected my reputation [removed] with this blog. This is the most desperate and pathetic attempt I have ever seen by an agent to procure business. I could sue you right now based on the sales and records I have made [in the past]. Your implications are quite damaging and it will not be tolerated. Please remove these insulting and malicious comments off this site immediately or [your company] and you will hear from my attorneys before you can write another irresponsible, unresearched, innaccuate and unethical statement. By the way, you are using my photos for commercial use. Please cease and desist from this.

[One upset agent]

And you thought this blogging stuff is easy, and always fun….

25 thoughts on “Letter To Editor: “Defamation, Slander, Law Suit” Fun!

  1. Ignore the email you received. This a-hole is bluffing and has no case. If he does sue you, California’s anti-SLAPP law will apply and will not only provide you with a quick victory but this jerk will be on the hook for your legal fees as well as his own. There are lawyers all over the city who will take your case on a contingency fee to get the SLAPP fees.

  2. “law suit in 5 minutes.” and people wonder why agents get a bad rep, this is exactly the sort of guy who pisses his clients off in droves and them blames someone else for his problems.

  3. There’s also the argument that blogging is journalism… But I agree, this guy is full of it, and only continues to do his clients (and himself) a dis-service.

  4. I really need to start caching this blog so that when like this happened, it’s easy to go back and find the post that caused the drama. :)

    I’m still curious to know what ever happened in that one offer to buy where the agent and seller were trying to play hardball.

    [Editor’s Note: This is not from the same agent we’re still dealing with “in that one offer”, which is not an offer any more, but a ratified contract. Details on that, when it closes (pending client approval of course.) ]

  5. Since we’re on the subject, any lawyers out there know the limitations and rights as they pertain to “free speech” on a blog? Particularly as they pertain to real estate blogging? I’m at a loss for an answer on this, and hesitate to put many posts up fearing backlash from people just like this. It’s a fine line I’m walking. I mean, heck! How does Perez Hilton get away with saying what he says about all the celebrities?

  6. First, everyone should have a lawyer friend that will help them in the event of baseless claims such as these. Real Estate agents are in the perfect position to offer a quid pro quo type deal to make an lawyer friend. If you don’t have a go-to guy for these types BS situations than it is certainly easy to get scared, which is the exact basis for the tactic. No way this guys sues you because the minute he does you counter-sue with any one of a million reasons and you sue for your legal fees when he loses — which you would surely be awarded/granted upon his loss of these baseless claims. So now he is faced with 2x legal fees.

    He should also check fair use laws about putting pics in the public domain.

    I wouldn’t have hid his name and would have linked to the post in question.

    But then again, I’m not the one in his sights.

  7. There is some immunity for a host that merely provides a forum for others’ speech; however, the speaker herself is as liable for defamation on a blog as in any other media.

  8. I’ve won a lot of anti-SLAPP motions. California law is very pro-free speech. If this guy follows through with his threat, and I doubt the a-hole will, he is in for a big out-of-pocket cost.

    This site is a very good resource.


    Note, however, that you don’t get any more, or fewer, free speech rights just because you say it in a “blog.”

  9. That’s when it could be handy to be friend with “SS”…. his mailbox is surely full of those, and I’m sure he has his routines into place.

    As for the message persay,
    1. it’s an email thus: “ooooops, sorry, it went to the junkmail box, I never read it” [translation: if that person doesnt take his time to have a PAPER letter sent, he’s not worth your time]
    2. when is “sexiest realtor contest” a diffamation? ;-)
    3. threats of this 1st grader quality are just that: INSECURITY. Obvisouly, that person is peeing in his pants because the economy is changing, and yes, there will be a lot of people out of business in a very near future. And altho THAT person should be out of the loop very soon (he’s going nowhere and is only making more friends with such emails), you, alex, should be fine. Hang in there.
    4. I somehow wish he would file the suit, so the Examiner could make a full size laugh of the case, and return the friendly publicity back to that person.
    5. the funniest part of all is that I can’t believe someone’s clients would be impacted by a simple blog and their agent not know about this. If that is the case, the agent should be sued back by the client for the commission as the agent did not do his work to the best. (I’m also reading lawyerS – so I’m just giggling at someone who would pay 1, 2, 3 expensive lawyers but who would be too stupid to pay 1, 2, 3 inexpensive websurfers to have daily ACCURATE reports of what’s going on on the webspheres [[that includes a legal spying of his own clients, their piggybank, etc etc]] )

    Last I crushed my memory all day long, and can’t remember of any personal attack on your blog – beside heated exchanges between commenters (face to face manner). And it’s been very rare that you would use pictures in a borderline way – most of the time, it’s an open link, or a google map photo etc. So don’t worry, it would be difficult to actually make a case of systematic, vicious, personal, copyright attacks from you.

    [[PS: he or she of course ]]

  10. Sophie you reminded me it’s almost 2009 and before long another sexist realitor contest to look forward too, I can’t wait! :)

  11. sanfrantim is right regarding your liability regarding comments on your blog (you have none thanks, in a nice twist, to the Communications Decency Act). for your own posts it is a different matter, but, as others have observed, there is a very high bar regarding liable and slander. I’d suggest starting by following Techcrunch’s lawsuit policy. Any letter or email threatening them with legal action gets published in full – no redactions. A little public ridicule goes a long way.

  12. Steve,

    Thanks. You should also all know a “Big mistake Alex” email has already arrived. The post and public ridicule is set and ready to go, should the threats continue. I’ve had enough. Take something tiny and meaningless and blow it into something big.

    This agent is now aware that if he/she should so much as lift a finger threatening me again, it will be plastered all over this site. I’d imagine a few blogs with more readers than me would link to it as well, as it is a good example of the petty “don’t steal my clients” , “I’m the best, most successful agent ever” shit we have to deal with every day. By any guess, in a month at least 50-100,000 people could easily be aware of this bull shit being thrown my way, not to mention every Realtor in this city. Gonna be hard to get other Realtors to bring clients by this agent’s listings in the future when they see these tactics and know who it is. Yes, I’m pissed, and I’m prepared to go to battle if I have to.

    Going to need some nice sexist realtor contest to blow off some steam….get your candidate lists ready.

  13. not sure i follow why the person is pissed off, but i’m pretty sure that the only way you could have problems is if you call someone out by their name, and say negative things about them, especially untrue, or difficult things to prove. otherwise, flaming w/o using specific names should be kosher.

  14. “Going to need some nice sexist realtor contest to blow off some steam….get your candidate lists ready.”

    Well, we definitely know you and I aint the most photogenic! Not after all that “stand here AJ. no, stand here. Alex, sit on the chair. NO, don’t. yes, do. AJ, stand on a book.”


  15. [Sorry Paco, had to take that out. Can’t point fingers at anyone, but you are free to guess.]


  16. Should said cry-baby “I’m gonna sue” person decide to continue being sad & pathetic, I shall be more than happy to forward anything posted on your blog on to the many, many sites I belong to. After all, it’s important to share. Hopefully, s/he will wake up & smell the escrow.

  17. If you simply assert an opinion as opposed to a “fact”, then there is no defamation or libel. If the plaintiff doesn’t have any character (heh) then there is no libel or defamation.

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