lawyer has to have a tolerance for the hate he or she will receive from the defendants. Second, keep good records. Keep a file with every little thing said. Keep a notebook with notes of everything you know. Keep track of the time, place, and manner of everything. Take pictures of everything. Also, have others do the same—your employees, friends, and anyone with relevant information. If appropriate, file official records to document the problem. This may make your records more reliable. Always assume you will need to prove “what happened” later. Lawyers prefer too much information to too little. As your lawyer, when I take your case to court, I have to show the following: 1) what the defendant(s) said; and 2) that they knew what they said was untrue when they said it. In Ohio, damages are presumed in defamation but the more evidence I have of damages, the better. I need my client to give me that information. Third, in the defamation context, I generally recommend that you be aggressive in taking your case to court. Usually, we are not dealing with reasonable people in a defamation situation. It is expensive, but I will tell you this—the biggest mistake you can make is underestimating your opponent. Never, never underestimate what evil people will do. Once it is in court, you can force the defendants to the negotiation table and force them to abide by a set of civil rules with court supervision. For example, if they cross lines of decency while you are in court, you can quickly apply for a restraining order. This is harder if you are not already in court. Also, often, there is little downside to moving the issue into the courts. It is entirely appropriate to use a legitimate lawsuit as negotiating leverage to enforce your rights. If the defendants cooperate, perhaps you can dismiss the case or negotiate a settlement. The mere
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AmericanTowman.com | September 2021 • West 91