Milton, FL asked in Business Law, Civil Litigation and Consumer Law for Florida

Q: Is it illegal to protest/share a negative experience with a business?

I bought into a company that claimed they were going to teach me how to be successful in a business and would provide coaching from people who had done the business. They claimed they had already worked out the kinks and would teach me to use their system and all I had to do was follow it. It did not work. Next time they hold an event where they are selling their system, I'd like to protest by setting up a table outside the event and hand out materials explaining my experience with the company. I know anyone can sue anyone but I want to know if I'm actually breaking the law by doing so such as committing slander, defamation, etc. My thought is that as long as I present facts I'm not doing anything illegal. I may not have used correct legal terminology but I think you understand the question and what I'm asking. If I need to have an attorney review my plan of action for legality, is there a specific type of attorney I should contact?

2 Lawyer Answers
Charles M.  Baron
Charles M. Baron
Answered
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Hollywood, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: If you convey facts that are 100% truthful, your statements do not constitute unlawful defamation. However, you are correct that "anyone can sue anyone". Are you prepared to spend many thousands of dollars to defend yourself (with an attorney)? All the other party has to do is to file a court complaint alleging that your statements are knowingly false and have damaged them, and you are off to the races.

Additionally, the other party might sue you for tortious interference with advantageous business relationship(s), which they can argue applies even assuming you are telling the truth. That cause of action is available if the other party can prove (1) the existence of a business relationship under which they have legal rights; (2) your knowledge of the relationship; (3) your intentional and unjustified interference with the relationship; and (4) damages resulting from the breach of the relationship. In some circumstances, the alleged relationship can be with identifiable prospective customers, not just established customers. And there again, they may have no leg to stand on, but can litigate it anyway. Can you attempt to pave the way for strong defenses if you are sued? Sure, but that may not prevent you from being sued. If you are prepared to spend a lot of money, you should consult an attorney in your area handling commercial litigation or general civil litigation.

By the way, I see you did inquire about you suing them, such as for breach of contract, fraud, or deceptive and unfair trade practices. If you have not looked into that already, you may want to consult an attorney in your area who handles consumer protection matters.

Jane Kim agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

Jane Kim
Jane Kim
Answered
  • Naples, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I completely agree with Mr. Baron.

It sounds similar to the litigation involving trump university where trump settled.

1 user found this answer helpful

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