Sunday, January 7, 2007

Truth is a Defense

In law, defamation is the communication of a statement that makes a factual claim that may harm the reputation of someone else, whether an individual or business etc. Basically there are 2 types of defamation, depending upon the method of publication. If the statement is published in some fleeting form, as by spoken words it is called slander. But, if the statement is published in more permanent form, for example in written words then it is considered libel.
The best defense to a defamation lawsuit is by proving that the alleged defamatory statement was true.

This morning I was defamed, slandered really. While riding home after our weekly team ride this morning, a guy driving a large Jeep rolled down his window and yelled:
I looked at Ed and said "Did he just yell BIKE GEEKS at us?" To which Ed responded, "Yeah I think he did."

For a minute I tried to think of some kind of witty retort along the lines of "Yeah, fat ass, well..." but then the legal training kicked in and I thought, it's TRUE. I can't deny it. I am a bike geek.

Let's see, consider the evidence:

Exhibit 1: Most of my waking hours are spent either on the bike, thinking about being on the bike or talking about bikes and cycling.

Question: Isn't it true that every Saturday and Sunday you leave the house on your bicycle and ride 60 or so miles?
Answer: (Me) Yes.
Question: Then you go to a coffee shop.
Answer : Yes.
Question: While there, you drink coffee?
Answer: Of course.
Question: And what do you talk about?
Answer: Well, lots of things.
Question: Really, isn't it true that you talk about the ride you just finished.
Answer: Yes.
Question: And, about your bikes?
Answer: Yes.
Question: And, then you talk about what new carbony thing you might put on your bike?
Answer: Yes.
Question: And what the pros might be doing in some race in Europe?
Answer: Yes.
Question: And all of this conversation is with the guys you just spent 3 hours riding with? It's safe to say that your entire conversation is about bikes? Your honor, (with a smirk) no further questions.

Exhibit 2: All of the magazines I receive have to do with bikes. I can see opposing counsel handing me stack after stack of decade old magazines!

Exhibit 3: All of my vacation time is used to ride bikes.

Exhibit 4: Most of my disposable income goes towards bikes, wheels (hell yes wheels!), parts to make the bike lighter and/or go faster and other cycling related items.

Any jury in the world would have to agree, BIKE GEEK.


Radio Freddy said...

Bike Geek!

Anonymous said...

Please stick to commentary about bikes, bike riding, bike racing and cool bike stuff.


Bike Geek

FasterJim said...

It's all about the bike! Thanks for reading.

Chris said...

Man, I hate to correct you, but I learned in J school that truth is the WORST defense against libel -- because then you have to prove it! It's a paradox, I know -- above the head of many of the journos I know.

FasterJim said...


It is a paradox, b/c then you basically have to admit that if the statement wasn't true, it was then defamatory.

From a legal perspective though its remains a defense and here, Mr. Jeep would defintely be able to prove it.

Hope the ribs are feeling better.