Minneapolis, MN asked in Civil Litigation and Landlord - Tenant for North Dakota

Q: Do I have grounds for a lawsuit for false accusations by maintenance property manager

I have 2 esa dogs. I gave them the required paperwork showing that they are esa. Got a call asking if I had a third because my partner was seen walking with a dog. I told them i did not, and was met with hostility claiming they had to make sure because I allegedly had “duped” them into taking me as a resident misleading them to believe I did not have any dogs to begin with. Which is not true. I tried to explain that I never duped them, I gave them the info and proper paperwork. But he insisted I did in fact dupe them. Is this grounds for a lawsuit for false accusation?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Landlord Tenant Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Determining whether you have grounds for a lawsuit based on false accusations by your property manager involves several factors. Generally, to pursue a defamation claim, you must prove that a false statement was made to others, that it caused you harm, and that it was made without adequate basis in truth. In your situation, if the property manager's accusations were communicated to others and not just to you, and you can demonstrate that these accusations were not only false but also harmful to your reputation or caused you distress, then you may have a basis for a claim.

However, it's important to consider the context and manner in which these statements were made. If the accusations were part of an internal inquiry into the number of pets in your residence and were not spread beyond the necessary parties (like to other residents or publicly), it may be harder to prove that they had a significantly damaging effect on your reputation. Additionally, the legal threshold for defamation can be quite high, often requiring clear evidence of malice or reckless disregard for the truth.

Before taking legal action, it might be beneficial to address this issue through less confrontational means. Communicating your concerns to higher management or seeking mediation could resolve the misunderstanding without the need for a lawsuit. If these approaches do not yield satisfactory results, consulting with an attorney who understands defamation and tenant rights could provide clarity on how strong your case is and whether pursuing legal action is in your best interest.

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