Is calling someone an idiot actionable?
January 28, 2015 Leave a comment
Apparently not in Nebraska. Their Supreme Court recently upheld the dismissal of a case brought by a home inspector Matthew Steinhausen. Steinhausen, a non-attorney, represented himself and also attempted to represent his business in the lawsuit against Shelly Nitz, Woods Brothers Realty and HomeServices. The lawsuit claimed an email describing the home inspector as “a total idiot” was libelous. The trial and appellate courts disagreed. In doing so, the Nebraska Supreme Court analyzed a number of decisions that found similar words non actionable:
- raving idiot
- raving maniac
- pitiable lunatics
The decision brings to mind an old proverb. “Every man who is his own lawyer, has a fool for a client.”