Church Owner’s Charitable Business Threatened by Slanderous Statements

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“My husband is a pastor one of the members left the church to start his own church”

“He left upset and has been visiting and calling other members saying false things about my husband and telling them to join his church what can I do ? by the way I recorded our meeting I have proof that he is lying (we have a sign) but no one knows of recording. 
How can I help my husband we already lost a lot of people who believed his lies? My husband reputation is being attacked”

The issue of unfair competition is unfortunately something we see quite often in business litigation.  If the allegations are true, the claims here would not be founded upon “business fraud,” but slander and unfair competition.  The claimants posted the above issue on AVVO.COM recently, and this is how I responded:

The issue regarding the Church member communicating false information about your husband may amount to actionable slander, which would be addressed in the civil courts. You should consult with an attorney for an assessment as to whether the statements satisfy the elements of slander. If the communications include statements that your husband has committed a crime or other such behavior, the allegations would be addressed with a claim of “slander per se,” a claim which places an even higher burden upon the defendant. If there is good reason to believe the communications will continue, consider discussing injunctive relief with your attorney. There are other important torts to consider in this situation as well, to the extent that these statements may be adversely affecting the Church’s income. I have a blog coming out shortly about interference with business income.

That being said, Mr. Hirsch’s admonition about recording conversations is well taken. While a number of States are considered “one party” states, permitting recording of conversations without notice to the other party, California is not one of them. Furthermore, California’s law on the matter is not the only law that regulates recording conversations. The Federal Law also regulates the area, through the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) under Title 47 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Any person considering recording a conversation in ANY State should become well acquainted with these rules before surreptitiously recording conversations.

Stephen Hammers

Stephen Hammers

Stephen Hammers is a California attorney with over 24 years experience in the trial of business and real estate matters. He has a 100% success rate in jury trials as lead counsel, and tries cases in all Courts of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. He is a writer and lecturer in matters involving business fraud, real estate and commercial lease litigation.
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Stephen Hammers
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