Analyzing a Defamation Claim and Potential Defenses

Read the fact pattern below and prepare a memorandum of no less than 3, but no more than five, pages to your supervising attorney:

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  • Identifying and analyzing all claims to which the client may be subject
  • Identifying and analyzing all defenses that may be available to the client
  • Identifying and analyzing any counterclaims that the client may have against the plaintiff

Fact Pattern-

Bob Redux

Your supervising attorney calls you into his office and tells you that since you did such a good job helping him resolve the issue with Bob’s brawl, he’s decided you are the perfect choice to assist him in a new matter. The client, of course, is Bob, the troublesome son of the firm’s important client. Apparently, Bob has just been threatened with a lawsuit. He asks you to do the intake of Bob’s case and prepare a memorandum outlining the claims against Bob and any defenses he may have against them. Your supervisor also tells you that Bob’s father is firmly on his son’s side this time and is willing to provide the resources necessary to defend to the last and sue the plaintiff if there are viable claims.

You meet with Bob in the firm’s conference room. Bob explains that he is a finance major at a local university in town. He was able to secure an internship at a local prestigious financial service firm, The Titus Group.This firm was founded and controlled by Henry Titus. Henry Titus is well known in the community as a financial wizard who single-handily built the Titus Group. The firm serves many of the town’s most prominent and wealthy citizens.

Bob’s experience during his internship was not pleasant. He tells you that he was continually berated and verbally abused by Henry Titus. In fact, Titus even threw a report Bob prepared for him in Bob’s face. Bob spent some time each evening posting an accurate account of Bob’s behavior to his friends and families on a popular social media site. Some of these friends are clients of the Titus Group.

Bob’s complaints didn’t stop there. He told his intern advisor at the university and the director of the career center as well. His advisor called Henry Titus to discuss the matter, but Titus claimed that Bob was lying and advised Bob’s adviser that he was terminating the internship. Bob was unable to find another internship. He wasted his time and his father’s money on the college credits that he will not earn. He’ll also suffer an incomplete on his college transcript.

You ask Bob if that was it, and of course, since it was Bob, that was not it. Bob posted his termination from Titus Group internship on the social media page and called Henry Titus a liar. He also decided to share the following tidbits of information he learned in his internship, all of which Bob claims are absolutely true and can be verified:

  • Henry Titus does not have a college education even though he claims in his advertisements that he does hold an advance degree in finance
  • Henry Titus relies on the analysis of his staff of financial advisers to make all financial planning decisions, even though he markets himself as a financial guru that personally handles each client’s portfolio
  • Henry Titus routinely makes disparaging remarks about his “whining” clients when they complain about a decline in their portfolios.

Bob also tells you he posted the following comment on his social media page:“Based on what I learned during my internship, I think Henry Titus is an abusive, unethical businessman and a liar. I don’t think clients should trust him at all. I sure wouldn’t trust him with my money.”

One of Bob’s “friends” on the social media site decided to share the comments with Henry Titus.

Bob received a letter from an attorney representing Henry Titus and the Titus Group demanding a retraction of the comments on the social media site as well as a post apologizing within ten days or a lawsuit will be filed against him. Bob ignored the letter.It’s been 12 days.

Bob also tells you that there has been even more fallout. Bob graduates this coming spring and has started applying for jobs. When asked about his internship, he explained the situation to his prospective employers. These firms have called Henry Titus who has claimed that Bob was released from his internship early due to incompetence and unethical behavior. Luckily for Bob, the head of one of the firms is a friend of his father and told Bob’s dad what was going on. Bob wants to know if there is anything your firm can do. He’s been unable to secure employment and he thinks Titus’ influence in the local business community is the reason why.

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