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Is there any legal recourse against a reporter who uses your name in a newspaper article after repeatedly being asked not to?

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November 10, 2011, 2:35 pm

Thank you for your question.  Unfortunately, little facts are provided.  Freedom of Speech and the press is protected by the United States and Montana Constitutions.  The basic law is that if a newpaper prints liable statements about a public figure then malice must be proven.  If you are not a public figure then, negligence or recklessness may be enough.  There are other exceptions which are generally referred to as "Slander Per Se".  One example would be disparagement of a person in his or her profession or business.  

In your fact pattern you do not allege information which is defamatory.  As a result your last resort would be a Complaint based upon an oral contract not to print your name.  If you can prove you had an agreement by clear and convincing evidence then you may have a Complaint.  Clear and convincing evidence generally requires a writen agreement or a number of confirmatory witness statements. 

Assuming you meet the clear and convincing evidence test then, it boils down to damages.  For most every case in the law there must be damages.  How have you been economically harmed.  There is even an exception to this called intentional infliction of emotional distress.  

Once again another issue is whether the content of your comment involves any "whistleblower" statutes or issues.  You may be entitled to a claim from the government if you uncovered improper or illegal behavior.  This is common in medicaid/medicare billing.

As a result, if you don't want your name used you probably should not talk to a reporter.  If you want to do so annymously then it should be in writing.  

If you would like to call and discuss your situation, I would be more than willing to speak with you about your situation under the attorney-client priviledge.  From your question, it appears you do not wish to give out publicly sufficient information for a more precise response.   

I hope this helps.  If you are a Montana resident please feel free to call.  Scott Anderson, Attorney at Law 

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