How to Respond

Once you’re taken stock of the situation, you need to decide how to respond to a legal threat. Broadly speaking, you have three options:

  • Ignore it
  • Back down
  • Prepare for a fight

Ignore it

In many cases, you will decide the threat is not credible and requires no action on your part. You should probably cut off contact with the person who threatened you.

Back down

In some cases, the most prudent or ethical course of action is to swallow your pride and back down. You might do that because you were in the wrong, because you want to avoid a lawsuit, or simply because it‘s the safest way to exit a bad situation.

The correct course of action will depend on your circumstances—consider getting legal advice if your situation is complicated. Possible options include:

  • Make a formal apology. A sincere apology can go a long way toward de-escalating a situation.
  • Issue a public retraction of whatever you said. In some situations, issuing a retraction may reduce your legal liability.
  • Pursue mediation. A trained mediator may be able to help you and your opponent find an acceptable settlement that avoids a trial.

Prepare for a fight

If you are in the right and are comfortable with your strategic situation, you may choose to fight. See If Someone Sues You.

We are big fans of taking a brave stand against injustice, but a legal battle is not something to undertake lightly. Make sure you have a realistic understanding of what you’re getting into before you commit to a fight.


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