The Threat of Lawsuits

9:24:00 PM BB 0 Comments

Men in positions of power: race, class, etc etc have a lot in common. One of their commonalities is a love of faux legal threats.

I have written extensively about my terrible ex haha. Apparently my posts and comments got to him. Men like him do not appreciate having women speak their truths and call them out on their terrible racist abusive behavior. So what do they do, they threaten to sue.

Typically you'll get a vague poorly written long email from said hurt man, about all the ways you speaking your truth has hurt them and how they'll pursue legal action if it continues because they consider your comments defamation. Threats like these are an attempt to silence people who are marginalized. It's quite pathetic. Sounds like Donald Trump right?

These men like my ex, local musician from Toronto, white, with class privilege, use legal action as a threat because they know marginalized people often don't know their legal rights and often don't have proper legal representation. They send such threats believing that the actual oppressed party will stay silent out of fear.

I'm currently on vacation in Panama, and was just Facebook chatting with a friend who's facing something similar right now, and I told her what I tell all my friends: don't be scared and don't fall for it. This conversation motivated me to write this blogpost detailing my advice on vague lawsuit threats from people in power.

As a business owner, I've faced lawsuit threats of defamation from individuals and corporations who disagree with my views on their products and/or services. I refuse to be silenced, and you shouldn't either. 

Here's what I do in these situations:
-Laugh: I'm serious. Laugh because you successfully bruised someone's ego and now they're attempting to be a bully and lashing out. After you have a good laugh, share the email threatening a lawsuit with all your friends and support group, so you can all have a good laugh together. If you're feeling extra petty, feel free to point out grammatical and spelling errors.

-Don't respond: After you've de-stressed with a good laugh, let the offended party make the next move. Specifically, let them name their terms. In my case, it's often, "take this down or we'll sue you!!" "Don't mention my company name or we'll sue you!!"

Remember that the fact that you've been threatened with a lawsuit doesn't mean that there's any merit to it. You can sue someone for literally anything, but winning a lawsuit is where it gets tricky. I always assume that nobody wants to spend thousands of dollars on legal fees, so a resolution is always possible.

Don't be tempted to respond with an angry email, which could be held against you in court. Resist the urge to delete your comments, and give in to a lawyer's demands.

-Seek legal advice: If you're worried, talk to a lawyer. You can pay for one for a few hours or contact pro-bono legal centers wherever you're located. Lawyers will tell you that lawsuits of defamation filed by the average Joe are often pointless. I have a business lawyer who's a woman of colour who I can rely on to give me sound advice when I need it. Ask your lawyer if you're in the wrong, how you should go about solving it, and how to respond.

In my case, I typically have specific things that I'd like to be resolved and I communicate that with the angry party's lawyers.

-Get everything in writing: No matter how many times your phone is called, and voicemails are left, don't resolve issues over the phone. Having all communication in writing could potentially help your case, as this is typically admissible in court.

 -If many cases, you can avoid personal liability by incorporating your business. This is something I did from Day 1, and I don't regret it.

- Once my issues are resolved, I don't delete my comments, but post an edit to my original comments saying something along the lines of "I spoke with (company name) management, and they assured me that (company name) takes customer complaints seriously. My issues have now been resolved." This resolution always seems to work for me, and lawyers involved. So, always try to get a peaceful resolution if possible.

-Finally, keep doing what you're doing and don't be silenced!

Please note: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

Random picture of me looking great in Panama


Thanks for keeping your comments thoughtful and concise :)