I got my seventh lawsuit threat last night. It was pretty much like the others:
I am XXXXX XXXXX. I was married to XXXXX XXXXX…I have just discovered your web site. The infomation that you have listed about me is incorrect […] I would like you to remove my name and any other references to me from your web site. […] If my infomation is not removed I will be forces to take legal action to have it removed. Please correct your records or you will be hearing from my lawyer. You cooperation is this matter is appreciated.
Jerk. The guy is all pissed off about ONE SINGLE SENTENCE in the casefile that does not, in fact, mention him by name. And the woman is listed as just plain “missing” anyway, meaning there’s no evidence of foul play that I know of. I wrote back to him:
Sir, if you had read the stuff on my contact page you would have realized that I welcome people pointing out any errors that may be in my casefiles, and will happily make corrections. You misunderstand me in any case; I wasn’t meaning to imply anything […] I don’t have enough information to form an opinion as to what happened to her, and that’s not my job. I don’t try to solve cases, I just catalog them.
There was no need to threaten me. It’s an empty threat, anyway. A successful libel/defamation suit requires that the defendant knew they were writing false information and did it maliciously. The information about XXXXX was furnished by a member of her family and I had no reason not to believe it. And I have no malice towards you; I don’t even know you. Before you emailed me I didn’t even know what your name was.
I have made the correction to XXXXX’s casefile as you said I should.
It’s always either I made a factual error (or someone claims I did) and get accused of libel/defamation, or I told the truth (as in family abduction cases) and someone doesn’t want their crimes posted online and I get accused of libel/defamation. Either way it doesn’t go anywhere. But damn, these types of emails are annoying. I put up the new contact page precisely to prevent this sort of thing. I wish people would actually read it. Sigh.