Am I at Risk of Being Sued?

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Dear Angela,

I just read your troubling article on the risk to writers of being sued. I’m writing a mystery that names no actual person and is not based on actual events. It’s pure fiction, BUT it is set in Naples, Florida, and it focuses on invented rich people in an unflattering way (I lived there for a number of years).

Based on this obviously superficial description, do you see any reason I should be worried? People have an egotistical way of seeing themselves in what’s written, even or perhaps especially when it’s negative. And the rich can do something about it, even when there’s no basis for offense other than–in the case of my story–being rich themselves.

I’d be very grateful to hear what you think.

Best,
-B

I’m not an attorney so I can’t give legal advice. That being said, if it was my book, I wouldn’t be worried about it. Anybody trying to sue would have a pretty difficult time convincing a judge or jury that you were writing about them if your character is solely a figment of your imagination.

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