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fattyflattie

Question for lawdawgs - Defamation Claim

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I have been served a cease and desist letter from a contractor.  It appears to have been written by Lionel Hutz's reincarnate.  My neighbor is a non-practicing (mom time) attorney, and friend of the family,  has been discussing with the wife about how to properly reply back and a path forward.  We fully expect it to go away, as the amount of $$ in dispute is about half an hour of attorneys time, and has become more of a fun time exercise at this point than anything else.   But she made a comment that "no lawyer would ever take this on, if you wanted to pursue it".   It's my understanding that defamation suits are difficult to prove for the plaintiff, but for the defendant (that never committed such acts) it should  be pretty cut and dry?   Also, I assume that one can find representation on an hourly basis to fight most anything?  I thought the contingency types were more for large torts/injury.  Anyhow, this statement and her steadfastness of it have me questioning other advice we've gotten.  Curious what the experts think. 

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Dare them to file a defamation case against you. With the Anti-SLAPP law in Texas, you'll probably be granted mandatory fees for responding to it. Plenty of attorneys will take the case defending a defamation claim because of that. 

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I would suspect her comment was intended to mean "no one would take the contractor's case if he wanted to follow through with his threats of litigation for defamation."   Or if you're talking about 'you pursuing the contractor for $1000,'  then the statement would apply to you too. And she may be right for attorneys working on contingency. But you can find lawyers on both sides to fight most anything on an hourly basis. 

I would take it a bit more seriously than it sounds like you are... and you may want to speak to a practicing attorney (wtf is mom time, btw?).. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, ROFL BOX said:

First, we need to know what insults you made about said contractor.

None. I asked for recommendations for a competent contractor on a neighborhood Facebook site. They came up as a recommendation quickly as they are entrenched in the community.  I replied promptly that they  wouldn’t be considered as this is to finish the job they “completed”, and that they made it very clear they would not return to fix the issue when we asked them to come fix it. I tried to be as cloak room like as possible and only speak in 3-5 word sentences, nothing untrue.  When said contractor joined the chat I asked her to call me on any lies. She texted us shortly after to expect something from their attorney.  
 

3 hours ago, kangsta said:

I would take it a bit more seriously than it sounds like you are... and you may want to speak to a practicing attorney (wtf is mom time, btw?).. 

I’m assuming this letter is a bully tactic. Hell it mentions suing my wife and I separately even thoHe I don’t have any social media (I didn’t post shit) and didn’t contract them for shit (wife signed everything). Nothing I ever spoke was untrue, which I believe is a large portion of slander/libel/defamation.   When the business got on the thread and started their rebuttal/attack, we told them we wanted it civil and only want the recommendation on a competent contractor to come finish.   Very luckily, all of the day to day interactions were done by text.  There was even one nasty episode that happened, and the chronicle of why there will be a male present during work going forward in those texts.  Every bit of me wanted to start putting screen grabs up on the thread and asking, hey care to explain this one?      
 

Sorry, by mom time, I meant she practiced for a year or so 15 years ago before having kids immediately after school and no longer “practicing”.  
 

2 hours ago, deadshank said:

How much do you owe the contractor and how far past due is the amount owed?

I made the cardinal sin. I paid on time, every time.  That last check cleared and it was fuck you, we’re done.  Even though your shit doesn’t work, show us in the contract where we said it has to.  There has to be some kind of implied warranty on the term “complete”, correct.  As in, job isn’t complete until the shit you installed actually functions?   

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As a side comment, I’ve been getting bids now off and on for six months to do some house add-on construction work (patio cover and extension) and it’s unbelievable how many incompetent, lazy contractors I’ve had to deal with. I literally have been ready to spend money for months and can’t find a competent contractor.

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3 hours ago, fattyflattie said:

None. I asked for recommendations for a competent contractor on a neighborhood Facebook site. They came up as a recommendation quickly as they are entrenched in the community.  I replied promptly that they  wouldn’t be considered as this is to finish the job they “completed”, and that they made it very clear they would not return to fix the issue when we asked them to come fix it. I tried to be as cloak room like as possible and only speak in 3-5 word sentences, nothing untrue.  When said contractor joined the chat I asked her to call me on any lies. She texted us shortly after to expect something from their attorney.  
 

I’m assuming this letter is a bully tactic. Hell it mentions suing my wife and I separately even thoHe I don’t have any social media (I didn’t post shit) and didn’t contract them for shit (wife signed everything). Nothing I ever spoke was untrue, which I believe is a large portion of slander/libel/defamation.   When the business got on the thread and started their rebuttal/attack, we told them we wanted it civil and only want the recommendation on a competent contractor to come finish.   Very luckily, all of the day to day interactions were done by text.  There was even one nasty episode that happened, and the chronicle of why there will be a male present during work going forward in those texts.  Every bit of me wanted to start putting screen grabs up on the thread and asking, hey care to explain this one?      
 

Sorry, by mom time, I meant she practiced for a year or so 15 years ago before having kids immediately after school and no longer “practicing”.  
 

I made the cardinal sin. I paid on time, every time.  That last check cleared and it was fuck you, we’re done.  Even though your shit doesn’t work, show us in the contract where we said it has to.  There has to be some kind of implied warranty on the term “complete”, correct.  As in, job isn’t complete until the shit you installed actually functions?   

What does the contract say regarding defects and warranty?

What’s the alleged defect that is not being corrected?

Tell us more.

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8 hours ago, deadshank said:

What does the contract say regarding defects and warranty?

What’s the alleged defect that is not being corrected?

Tell us more.

He's fucked. If I were him, I would have a Surly garage sale, get rid of all my shit and move to some place like Chad where they don't have extradition.

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9 hours ago, Dbeasy said:

As a side comment, I’ve been getting bids now off and on for six months to do some house add-on construction work (patio cover and extension) and it’s unbelievable how many incompetent, lazy contractors I’ve had to deal with. I literally have been ready to spend money for months and can’t find a competent contractor.

What are you trying to get done and where are you located?

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Hornian gives good advice.

 

The one thing that is suspect is the statement "they'll never find a lawyer to take this case."  There are a lot of valid reasons to think that, but as soon as you say it, you get sued.  Don't say it three times.

What's ultra stupid is that construction contracts in Texas carry an implied warranty that the work will be completed in a "good and workmanlike manner," which means shit works.  Sounds like you are a more likely plaintiff, or have a valid counterclaim  However, contractors, especially shitty ones, are notorious for being judgment proof.

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I hear the Irish Travelers do good work.

Their primary trade is repair work, often categorized as dubious in nature (though the fairness of that generalization has been called into question). But the US Irish Travellers have also, over the years, amassed fortunes through a unique internal economy based on life insurance policies.

There are Irish Traveller enclaves in Texas, in the Houston and Fort Worth areas; as well as in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Florida, with smaller settlements found in rural New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Many of the groups identify based on where in the US their ancestors first based themselves, such as the Ohio Travellers, Georgia Travellers, Texas Travellers, and Mississippi Travellers.

https://www.irishcentral.com/culture/who-are-irish-travellers-us

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If we have any Travellers in the Austin area & do roofing "work", I'm not familiar with them.  Also, I operate a Facebook group specific for roofing labor to contractor connections & 98% of the labor is Hispanic.

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7 minutes ago, ROFL BOX said:

If we have any Travellers in the Austin area & do roofing "work", I'm not familiar with them.  Also, I operate a Facebook group specific for roofing labor to contractor connections & 98% of the labor is Hispanic.

whoosh.

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I meant maybe OP already had the Irish Travellers do some work for him. Hopefully this constuction company isn't like the Westboro Baptist Church with a bunch of crazy cousins with law degrees.

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