Thursday, February 15, 2024

Chronicles of Twatrick: Lawsuit DOA.

It occurs that there is something about Patrick Ross' idiotic defamation lawsuit against me that will render it absolutely dead on arrival in court that I have not mentioned before so I'll take a few minutes and explain it.

A critical component of defamation is the difference between a "statement of fact" and an "opinion," where the former certainly has the potential to be defamatory, while the latter is given much more leeway, and this is where Patrick is in a truckload of trouble.

Unlike Patrick, I have become pretty careful with the way I choose my words, and one of my habits is to avoid making unequivocal claims like "X" (unless I am absolutely sure of the facts and can back it up with proof). Rather, I prefer conditional qualifiers like "I have heard ..." or "It's been reported ..." or "There is a rumour ..." or "An anonymous tipster informs me ..." and so on, and even the conditional, "If X is true, ...".

See the difference? I am not making a statement of fact; rather, I am clearly offering a hypothetical and speculating, which makes such statements pretty much impervious to accusations of defamation. Want an example?

At one point, in discussing a possible farm property owned by the Ross family, I discussed the concept of a "fraudulent conveyance." However, I tried to be careful and not say simply that that had happened. Rather, I protected myself with all of the qualifiers and speculatory phrases above, and if you don't believe, you're welcome to read that piece here.

Note well how I went out of my way to make it clear all of that was speculation, with phrases like "appears to be" and "the possibility" and "two rumours" and on and on and on; there is your difference between expressing an opinion versus making a statement of fact. And why is that important? Because Patrick misrepresented what I wrote in exactly the way you would expect, as you can read here in this snippet from Paragraph 6 of his Aug 2022 Statement of Claim:

See how Patrick twisted the meaning of what I wrote, changing a speculative opinion into a statement of fact? And given that that is a crucial distinction when it comes to charging someone with defamation, it's why he is absolutely toast if/when this gets to court.


MgS said...

I’m neither a lawyer nor a judge here, but I would suggest that while framing things with some speculative language likely insulates somewhat from a claim of defamation, that is far from a complete defence. I would have to presume that the defence rests upon other pieces of information that you have in your possession (and have not disclosed publicly).

Why do I say that speculative language is not necessarily an adequate insulator?

Consider the following:

“I have heard the is transgender, therefore they must be a pedophile”

The statement itself is speculative, but at the same time draws an unreasonable inference about the person and actions that they may or may not actually have done. Made repeatedly, with persistence, that statement could still be held as being libellous.

It’s not libel if there is evidence in the possession of the person making it that confirms the accusation though.

RossOwesDay said...

Also: Credit Rating DOA.

Anonymous said...

It should be of no surprise to anyone who's followed this blog for any amount of time that what Patrick hears, interprets, and spews back out, is akin to telling a secret in kindergarten to one person and hearing it back from others at the end of the day.

There's a disconnect between cognitive ability and reasoned understanding with the young 43 yr. old lad to the point he hears voices when he farts. He's been known to get in verbal fights with his ass after eating burritos and other fine cuisine from Taco Bell.

Let us not dwell on the fact if a woman looks his way, accidentally brushes up against him, or simply smiles to be nice, he considers any of those as a marriage proposal.

So, him completely missing what you said for what how it reads in his head shouldn't be as baffling as it looks to be. We are speaking about a man who took 7 years of University only to fail and never return.

It was once said that the meek shall inherit the Earth and I believe we're all hoping he isn't one of the few. Humanity would be broke, dodging creditors, and forced consume 14,000 calorie diets.

CC said...

MgS: I agree (somewhat) with your point, but you are using as an example speculation that is illogical. That is, if someone says, "He's in favour of gay rights; therefore, he must be a child pornographer," that might very well be defamatory since it in no way follows logically.

On the other hand, speculation of the form, "If the Ross family is attempting to conceal a property asset from me, then that could very well be fraudulent conveyance," is perfectly reasonable since it follows logically. While both of those statements are speculation, mine is grounded firmly in law and logic.

And, yes, I do have evidentiary basis, even for my speculation.

Anonymous said...

devil's advocate here
He will claim you are insinuating things about him, and that your hairsplitting argument fails because it amounts to saying a metaphor is actionable but a simile is not. eg. "He is a lion" metaphor "He is like a lion" simile. He would then point out most people do not know what is metaphor and what is simile from high school English, so the defamatory effect is the same. Then he would say:
So pedochuckles is bad but pedolikechuckles is ok? If each is actionable then your insinuations are too, would be his triumphant conclusion.

MgS said...

My example was intentional - in part because that attack has once again become part of the discourse around 2SLGBTQ people - and in particular trans people. It’s illogical because most people actually understand that being a member of that community has nothing to do with whether one is a pedophile or not. However, there is a small, but very vocal, group that will make that assertion and swear up and down that it is true. (W/out evidence)

I do agree that with corroborating evidence, such a speculation is valid. Without evidence, such speculation could become defamatory. I won’t inquire as to the nature of the evidence you have in this case - there is good reason to hold that until Patrick progresses his lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

The problem with MgS's example is that it draws a definitive conclusion about someone: "they must be a pedophile." The conclusion is defamatory if not true.

But the sentence can easily be rephrased to remain speculative: "I hear they're trans and so may be a pedophile." This conveys much the same meaning but without the risk.

CC said...

My, I didn't think this thread would take off so spectacularly, but whether or not we agree that speculation rises to the level of defamation, I submit that Patrick still clearly misrepresented the situation as he claims in his SoC that I "alleged" that his family had done something, whereas I did no such thing.

If you want to argue about what level of speculation is defamatory, that's fine. But you *can't* refer to obvious speculation and subsequently claim that it is a statement of fact. I suspect a judge will appreciate the distinction.