Can you sue a wannabe Alpha Male if he calls you a faggot?

  • venue35

    Posts: 4644

    Apr 09, 2015 11:53 AM GMT
    Here's the story...
    We own a restaurant in Albuquerque NM that we lease to this Greek guy and his son. We renew the contract every 11 years or so and this has been going on since 1988.
    I was a student here in Greece with the son and many years later he moved back to New Mexico and worked at the restaurant for his father. When we first leased the business to the father in 88 it was also leased to my uncle 50/50. My uncle soon discovered that his partner was stealing large sums of money from him. Being the chicken shit that he's always been, instead of confronting the issue or suing his partner he sold him his share and left the State. Many years later in 2008 the father was causing some trouble with the business..he found a loop hole..he wasn't paying some kind of tax that could have caused my father serious trouble maybe even losing the restaurant.
    I sent the son a message on face telling him that his father should pay the taxes and cut the bullshit.
    His reply was "Go fuck yourself you faggot I'm gonna kick your ass."
    The problem is I read the message LAST year.
    He even appeared at the business we own here after he sent that nasty message and he just ignored me. If I had read it back then I would have assaulted him verbally and maybe physically right then and there.

    Can I sue him for making these homophobic remarks??
    He disgusts me!!
  • venue35

    Posts: 4644

    Apr 09, 2015 12:09 PM GMT
    Maybe Svnw can give me some advice
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    Apr 09, 2015 1:41 PM GMT
    Im sure you could, but doing that might lead to more hostility if it's still leased to his father. I wonder if there is a way of ending the contract early - on the basis of the dodgy tax thing? If you could do that, he'd *hopefully* be out of your hair for good. I'm sorry that this happened though; doesn't sound nice at all.
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    Apr 09, 2015 3:14 PM GMT
    venue35 said
    Can I sue him for making these homophobic remarks??
    He disgusts me!!

    Were you educated in America or in Greece? (serious question)
    Under American law, you have no lawsuit. So he called you a faggot. So he's an asshole. But it's not remotely actionable.
    Find some other way to ruin him. Maybe the tax problem.
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    Apr 09, 2015 3:40 PM GMT
    Sharkspeare said
    venue35 said
    Can I sue him for making these homophobic remarks??
    He disgusts me!!

    Were you educated in America or in Greece? (serious question)
    Under American law, you have no lawsuit. So he called you a faggot. So he's an asshole. But it's not remotely actionable.
    Find some other way to ruin him. Maybe the tax problem.


    Agree w/ Sharks. No clear and present danger of actual assault or battery; in fact, the year-long delay only harms whatever case you may have had. Even in states like CA, which have protections against anti-gay violence, this does not rise to the required level. And, since this was only a communication between the two of you, there's no defamation or privacy claim. Just write these people off and have nothing further to do w/ them.
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    Apr 09, 2015 5:03 PM GMT
    Unless he works for TMZ, I'm going to say no.

    My bother-in-law called me faggot once...my sister convinced him to drop the assault charges.

    -How is it you read the message "last year"?
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    Apr 09, 2015 5:15 PM GMT
    I've been called a lot worse things then faggot. icon_smile.gif
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    Apr 09, 2015 5:57 PM GMT
    dustin_K_tx saidUnless he works for TMZ, I'm going to say no.

    My bother-in-law called me faggot once...my sister convinced him to drop the assault charges.

    -How is it you read the message "last year"?


    BOTHER in law is right! I'm w/ you on that one; ours is one of the unlucky families, too. What my sister ever saw in him is beyond me! As my dad calls him, "a Class A prick."
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    Apr 09, 2015 6:39 PM GMT
    dustin_K_tx saidUnless he works for TMZ, I'm going to say no.

    My bother-in-law called me faggot once...my sister convinced him to drop the assault charges.

    -How is it you read the message "last year"?


    He has been on RJ watching us calling each other "faggot"!
  • Svnw688

    Posts: 3350

    Apr 09, 2015 7:50 PM GMT
    DISCLAIMER: This is NOT legal advice. The following is provided for informational purposes only.

    Short answer: You probably do NOT have a lawsuit under U.S. or New Mexico law.

    Long answer: In short, he called you a homophobic slur ("faggot") and threatened physical violence ("I will kick your ass"). Unfortunately, the First Amendment is so strong in the U.S. that saying "faggot" is perfectly legal. Perhaps if this were some kind of a business-customer situation you could grab onto some NM public accommodation law (if such a NM law exists), but that is not the case because you are business equals and in no circumstance are you a customer or patron. And the threat would be called "puffery" under most jurisprudence I'm familiar with. He would need to say MORE of a threat, add more detail, repeat the threat, or take an active step towards it (then criminal liability could attach as well, e.g., if he bought a weapon or arranged a visit with you BECAUSE of this threat).

    Like MGINSD said, defamation (libel/slander) are out because even if this was otherwise actionable, he did not "publish" the defamation to a third-party (ironically, you did icon_cool.gif ). Don't worry, you can't get in trouble, but you still can't sue.

    These words aren't enough to rise to any kind of an IIED (intentional infliction of emotional distress) or NIED (if that claim exists in New Mexico).

    Cyberbullying laws in New Mexico only protect students, and this one-time correspondence is not the "repeated" offense necessary to establish that element under NM 6.12.7.7, et al.

    Unfortunately, because the United States so values its First Amendment, you are likely unable to seek favorable legal redress. Anyone can file a lawsuit, but doing so frivolously can result in sanctions. This guy is a grade A jerk, and not a very bright one (he put his offense in writing), but there's nothing an American court could do for you, in my opinion.
  • venue35

    Posts: 4644

    Apr 09, 2015 9:04 PM GMT
    Thanks for the replies.
    I was educated in the States and in Greece.
    I'm very disappointed that I can't take legal action.
    The reason it took me so long to read the message is that I had a feeling even back then that the response would be something horrible. I'm really surprised that he didn't just ignore me. If he thinks that he has a future in our restaurant when the lease expires in exactly 5 years he is in for a big surprise. I will do whatever it takes to make sure that he is out of there. What a scumbag.
    They have repeatedly tried to convince my father to sell the business and the building to them but my father won't do it.
    My older brother who lives in Boston made a homophobic comment to me 4 years ago after he tried to tell me what I can and can't say in a discussion. I called him a fat ass on Prozac and he called me a faggot. I haven't talked to him since. Call me whatever you like but don't go there.
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    Apr 09, 2015 9:34 PM GMT
    Svnw688 saidDISCLAIMER: This is NOT legal advice. The following is provided for informational purposes only.

    Short answer: You probably do NOT have a lawsuit under U.S. or New Mexico law.

    Long answer: In short, he called you a homophobic slur ("faggot") and threatened physical violence ("I will kick your ass"). Unfortunately, the First Amendment is so strong in the U.S. that saying "faggot" is perfectly legal. Perhaps if this were some kind of a business-customer situation you could grab onto some NM public accommodation law (if such a NM law exists), but that is not the case because you are business equals and in no circumstance are you a customer or patron. And the threat would be called "puffery" under most jurisprudence I'm familiar with. He would need to say MORE of a threat, add more detail, repeat the threat, or take an active step towards it (then criminal liability could attach as well, e.g., if he bought a weapon or arranged a visit with you BECAUSE of this threat).

    Like MGINSD said, defamation (libel/slander) are out because even if this was otherwise actionable, he did not "publish" the defamation to a third-party (ironically, you did icon_cool.gif ). Don't worry, you can't get in trouble, but you still can't sue.

    These words aren't enough to rise to any kind of an IIED (intentional infliction of emotional distress) or NIED (if that claim exists in New Mexico).

    Cyberbullying laws in New Mexico only protect students, and this one-time correspondence is not the "repeated" offense necessary to establish that element under NM 6.12.7.7, et al.

    Unfortunately, because the United States so values its First Amendment, you are likely unable to seek favorable legal redress. Anyone can file a lawsuit, but doing so frivolously can result in sanctions. This guy is a grade A jerk, and not a very bright one (he put his offense in writing), but there's nothing an American court could do for you, in my opinion.


    Unfortunately? The solution to speech you don't like is to ignore it or to counter it with more words that are within the bounds of law and civil society. It's a very strong and vital American tradition.
  • venue35

    Posts: 4644

    Apr 09, 2015 9:57 PM GMT
    Which should be respected and not abused
  • Svnw688

    Posts: 3350

    Apr 09, 2015 10:04 PM GMT
    @SwimmerSF

    Bit of a straw man there. New York, for example, makes it criminal to harass people online and through email, and this statute complies with the Federal Constitution.

    Hate speech, harassment and "fighting words" are not protected speech. I don't think you should be able to threaten to kick a "faggots" ass.

    Unfortunately for OP, NM does not have a law similar to NY and other U.S. jurisdictions that outlaw such harassment and threats.

    ******
    Edit: The NY law is Penal Code 240.30. "Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree." It specifically makes allotment for email.

    In addition, and here, I am not saying this one sentence necessarily fulfills the elements of the misdemeanor, but only to say it isn't even an avenue he can search in NM, but could have explored in NY.
  • venue35

    Posts: 4644

    Apr 09, 2015 10:15 PM GMT
    Well let's hope I get called a faggot in NY next time lol
    Seriously though..under which jurisdiction does the internet fall under??? None?
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    Apr 09, 2015 10:19 PM GMT
    Svnw688 said@SwimmerSF

    Bit of a straw man there. New York, for example, makes it criminal to harass people online and through email, and this statute complies with the Federal Constitution.

    Hate speech, harassment and "fighting words" are not protected speech. I don't think you should be able to threaten to kick a "faggots" ass.

    Unfortunately for OP, NM does not have a law similar to NY and other U.S. jurisdictions that outlaw such harassment and threats.

    ******
    Edit: The NY law is Penal Code 240.30. "Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree." It specifically makes allotment for email.

    In addition, and here, I am not saying this one sentence necessarily fulfills the elements of the misdemeanor, but only to say it isn't even an avenue he can search in NM, but could have explored in NY.


    Maybe I'm wrong but I don't think a single instance of rather mundane name-calling violates any law.
  • venue35

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    Apr 09, 2015 10:21 PM GMT
    The rather mundane name calling quote is just your opinion.
  • Svnw688

    Posts: 3350

    Apr 09, 2015 10:32 PM GMT
    @Swimmer

    People v. Shack, 86 N.Y.2d 529, 541 (N.Y. 1995) ("While a defendant may annoy, harass, or, more likely, threaten or alarm another person with a single telephone call, the statute does not necessarily contemplate a single act.").

    Here the Court of Appeals (highest state court in NY) is stating in dicta that the statute can impose liability for a single act OR for multiple acts (as was the situation in Shack). While I admit it's likely more difficult to "harass" someone once, the bigot here clearly "threaten[ed]" Venue. Telling a "faggot" he's going to beat him up sounds pretty vile to me.

    The real hurdle is the mens rea, it's a specific intent statute. You'd necessarily have to prove the defendant INTENDED to harass Venue, as opposed to merely "venting" hot air in a vile manner. That's where the trial would center in my opinion. And admittedly, more than a single instances would help to prove the specific intent, whereas a single sentence could easily be characterized as mere negligent "venting" of hot air.
  • venue35

    Posts: 4644

    Apr 09, 2015 10:38 PM GMT
    Venus?? Lol
  • Svnw688

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    Apr 09, 2015 10:40 PM GMT
    venue35 saidVenus?? Lol


    Lol, sorry. VENUE I'll correct that icon_cool.gif
  • Eli_jah

    Posts: 1391

    Apr 09, 2015 10:59 PM GMT
    Are you fucking serious?! This is America, you can't sue someone for a slur unless you can prove it as defamation.
  • Svnw688

    Posts: 3350

    Apr 09, 2015 11:09 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidJust use the money you were going to spend on legal fees to hire a hit man to kick this guy's ass.

    Nothing too bodily disfiguring, of course. But I do think that breaking a few bones will cost you "extra which I highly recommend.

    Problem solved.


    In the legal profession, this is what we call "self help." icon_cool.gificon_cool.gif
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    Apr 09, 2015 11:12 PM GMT
    Since he is an "alpha male," calling him a "faggot" would hurt him more than it hurts you.
  • Svnw688

    Posts: 3350

    Apr 09, 2015 11:20 PM GMT
    woodsmen saidSince he is an "alpha male," calling him a "faggot" would hurt him more than it hurts you.


    There is a certain logic and Shakespearian irony to this. icon_cool.gif
  • Import

    Posts: 7190

    Apr 09, 2015 11:43 PM GMT
    No, u cant sue him cuz he called u a faggot. Calm down. icon_rolleyes.gif


    You can only sue when you can prove that you have suffered a quantifiable damage of some sort. Was income lost? Did it impact ur ability to earn an income being called a faggot on FaceBook? What loss did u actually suffer by being called a faggot?

    Your feelings getting hurt is not grounds to sue someone.