Harassment Allegations Lead to Potentially Viable Libel Lawsuit
From Tika v. Jack, decided today by Judge Norman Moon (W.D. Va.):
The plaintiff and defendant dated for two months. When their relationship deteriorated, the defendant allegedly began sending the plaintiff abusive text messages. Then, when in her telling, the plaintiff blocked his phone, the defendant sent the plaintiff’s employer—a D.C. government agency—emails saying that the plaintiff had been using her work phone to harass him, trespassed on his property, and had made him and his daughter fear for their lives. The defendant also forwarded the plaintiff’s employer numerous private text messages she and the defendant had exchanged. The plaintiff now fears that her employment has been put in jeopardy and alleges that she has suffered significant emotional distress at having such lies about her told to her employer….
The court held that plaintiff had alleged enough to proceed on her defamation claim:
Defendant … contends that the allegations in the complaint and Plaintiff’s admissions demonstrate that the messages he sent were “substantially true,” and that at best there were “[s]light inaccuracies” in his email to Plaintiff’s employer. Defendant notes, for instance, that Plaintiff admitted calling or texting Defendant multiple times, including once with her government cell phone, and argues that he “could very well have viewed that behavior as harassment.” … allegations on this motion to dismiss, Plaintiff nonetheless expressly alleged that she did not “use[ ] her DC government procured cell phone to send [Defendant] harassing messages.” Moreover, Defendant’s contrary statement to Plaintiff’s employer that Plaintiff used her government cell phone to send him harassing messages is not made “substantially true” by Plaintiff’s admission that sh
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