Slander during arbitration hearing?

by Xoro

I was in an arbitration meeting concerning my son. My son's father had the school's principal and two front office staff workers call in to state that I had called my son's father a vulgar name and that it was witnessed by the principal. I was also disruptive on school grounds and had to be told to leave the campus.

I immediately called the principal a liar and he attempted to back track. The two staff personnel were attempting to back up the principal's statement but I cut them off and let them know that I would be filing a formal complaint on them for also lying, their voice had a nervous tone after that.

The two staff members also stated that I was a problem all last school year but I have a text message from a campus police officer stating that I was never a problem. There are also security cameras on campus that would should show that I was never escorted off campus on the day in question. I never came into contact with my son's father that day, I had no clue he was even on school grounds during the time I was there.

The same campus police officer asked me if I had lost my job and I asked him where he heard it. He stated that the front office clerks were telling him. I'm still employed and the only way they would come up with such a story is from my son's father. He is spreading lies around in order to hurt my character with the school staff.

Do I have a case of slander "pro se" because their statements were made to cause harm to me concerning my child's custody? They called in using their proper title and it was during school work hours. My son's father and I had to swear in prior to the meeting to tell the truth, but the witnesses who called in never had too. I'm in Texas and this just happened days ago.

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ANSWER for "Slander during arbitration hearing?":

Xoro (Houston):

When referring to defamation by slander you were probably referring to slander "per se," and not slander "pro se." The term pro se is used to describe a defendant in a civil or criminal case who chooses to represent him or herself without legal representation.

Per se slander is a type of slander where the person slandered does not have to prove exactly how he or she was injured or harmed, financially or personally. The falsity of the statement is sufficient proof. Examples of slander per se would be false statements that you had a sexally transmitted disease, or committed a heinous crime such as rape or incest.

From the facts you present you do not have a viable claim for slander, be it "per se" or not.

For there to be a viable claim for slander you would have to prove the statements were false, and as a result of the falsity you were harmed in some way. Harm might be financial losses, loss of status in the community, and the like.

Finally, there is an absolute defense to slander, whether per se or not. That is truth. If what was said is true, the person alleging slander has no recourse.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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