Yesterday I ran into an inquiry submitted in early November of 2017 by a musician of username Justaguyguy from Nashville, TN. He states that, as a result of false and defamatory statements made about him, he lost a valuable spot in a rotation of performances. He points out that it took him significant effort to earn that spot. Being harmed in his reputation and in his profession, he asked for some guidance on whether or how to proceed.
How many replies has he gotten as of yesterday? Only two: One of them anticipating him to "be prepared to pay attorney fees" unless he finds an attorney open to work on contingency. The other one, posted by the forum Administrator, pointing out the rarity of working on a contingent basis (due to the complexity of defamation lawsuits). There's a little bit of additional information in those two replies, but definitely not enough for a starting point other than the typical "get an attorney".
Note: Because the Terms and Rules of that forum prohibit to display "their" content, I am playing safe by not publishing the screenshots I took now of that thread.
This musician's hardship resembles what I endured and which led to the lawsuits I filed in 2015. That unfortunate resemblance and the experience I have gotten as a pro se litigant prompted me to sign up in that forum and post my reply. I outlined some preliminary aspects to consider in case Justaguyguy decides to sue the person he refers to as the slanderer.
Because of my sympathy toward meritorious pro se litigants, I wish my videos and briefs would help them avoid the strategic and procedural mistakes that a novice litigant is prone to make. I directed Justaguyguy to the series Corrupted from Ed to Judge and the briefs I've filed in the Michigan Supreme Court. The former addresses what to watch out for during litigation; the latter reflect my most matured knowledge and handling of legal matters. I also directed him to leagle.com/leaglesearch , an invaluable, free resource for any litigant's research on USA case law.
In preparation for my reply to Justaguyguy's thread, I searched the Tennessee statutes. It surprised me that in Tennessee the statute of limitations for defamation lawsuits is six months only (Tenn. Code Ann. § 28-3-103), half of what it is in many other jurisdictions! His inquiry being made over two months ago, this means that Justguyguy has less than four months to prepare and commence legal action against whoever caused him unlawful damages.
Given the "rarity" (?) and complexity of defamation cases as depicted in the second reply of that thread, I thought that my informed advice would be welcome there. But no, it wasn't. Not everyone likes the forthcoming Do-It-Yourself alternative I promote in regard to litigation. Some so-called "moderator" of that forum banned me under the generic pretext of "spam". Since then I have asked the administrator to restore my profile and my posts, but to no avail. If you open that thread, you won't see any traces of my post.
The lawyers who own and set up a blog or forum have the right to manage it as they please. However, that style of forum "moderation" (aka banning) is misleading and quite unfortunate. People approach those forums when they feel lost and are in need for orientation. They approach those forums with the belief that they'll find well-intentioned guidance, something more useful than "consult an attorney", something above and beyond the sarcasms and trolling that abound in those sites. Many of those people don't even have enough resources to persuade an attorney to take their case. In these instances, a pro se litigant's sincere and informed advice wouldn't cause this handful of lawyers to lose business anyway.
It will be a shame if the banning of useful guidance prevents Justaguyguy from obtaining through Tennessee courts whatever remedies to which he is entitled.