Defamation, Slander, and Libel
One of things that makes the United States great is the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. However, while the First Amendment provides broad protection for speech of all types, that protection is not unlimited.
Some words do more than cause offense or hurt feelings. Some words can cause actual damage. This can happen when messages are communicated with the intent of costing individuals or companies money, business, and their reputations.
When this type of message is communicated, it could be considered defamation. Defamation is not protected by the First Amendment, and those who are defamed can file a civil lawsuit to recover compensation for the damage caused by the harmful words or to stop the harmful words from continuing to be spoken.
The NY defamation lawyers at our firm have a long track record of successful defamation lawsuits and can provide representation to any person or business who was harmed by defamatory statements. Give us a call today to discover more about defamation laws and to determine both if you have a case and how our legal team can help you to fight for compensation for the damage caused to your reputation.
What is Defamation of Character?
Defamation of character occurs when harmful false statements are made about a person or about a business. The defamatory statements, which can be written or oral, must have been heard by a third party and must have actually caused some type of harm.
Our lawyers know how to deal with the defamers
There are two different categories of defamation: slander and libel. Slander covers defamatory statements– false and harmful speech. Libel covers defamatory writings. If the defamatory oral or written statements are made about a business, either in writing or in person, this type of business defamation is also known as trade disparagement.
What are the Legal Requirements of a Defamation Case?
In order to make a successful claim to obtain compensation for defamation, the victim who was defamed must prove that the false statements meet very specific legal criteria. Because defamation has a very specific legal meaning, a plaintiff who files a defamation lawsuit will need to prove, with the help of his defamation attorney, each of the legal elements of defamation. Defamation requires:
- A false and defamatory statement of fact
- Regarding the plaintiff
- Which is published to a third party and
- Which results in injury to the plaintiff.
The law doesn’t guard against just anything that is defamatory, but only genuine, serious defamation. Our NYC defamation of character attorneys will consider whether you are a public or private figure, whether there was actual malice or negligence regarding the truth of the statements, the manner of the publication, and your damages to determine whether the harmful statement meets the legal standard of defamation.
Who Can Win Defamation Lawsuits?
Anyone who was defamed, whether an individual or a business, should be able to make a successful claim for defamation. However, defamation laws provide the strongest protection for private individuals, so it is harder for public figures to make defamation claims. Public figures must prove actual malice, which is a more difficult standard – but it is a standard that our New York defamation attorneys can often help you to meet.
It is also easier to win defamation cases when intentionally false statements are made, as opposed to just negligent statements. Winning a defamation case on the basis of a negligent statement about a public figure is not typically possible because actual malice is required. However, private individuals could still successfully prevail in defamation lawsuits based on statements that were published or spoken by a speaker who was negligent in determining the truth of the statements.
Defamation Per Se
While plaintiffs in most defamation cases must prove they were damaged in order to prevail in their claims, this is not the case for certain types of statements. Some statements are considered defamation per se, and in defamation per se cases, the New York law doesn’t require plaintiff to prove damages. The damages are assumed. Four categories are cases are defamation per se include:
- Charging a plaintiff with a serious crime
- Stating false facts that tend to injure a plaintiff in his or her business trade or profession
- Charging that a plaintiff has a loathsome disease
- Imputing that a plaintiff is unchaste
If you can prove any of these things, you should be able to successfully win a defamation case with help from top New York defamation of character lawyers.
Because the Internet has become such a popular means of communication, a new category of defamation has arisen: Internet defamation. Internet defamation occurs when false and damaging statements are made using the web. Statements could be made on websites, blogs, social media posts, or any other online venue.
The key to a successful Internet defamation claim will involve proving that defamation per se occurred or that actual damage occurred to the defamed victim’s reputation. Since there are many false statements on the Internet, this can be a challenge. NY Internet defamation lawyers can help you to obtain evidence so you can make a case.
Workplace defamation is another common problem that can cause serious harm to a professional reputation. Defamation in the workplace can occur when your character is impugned by someone with whom you have a professional relationship, Often, this is a co-worker, who may spread false gossip or make untrue statements to promote his own career while disadvantaging the person who is defamed.
Workplace defamation often has direct financial consequences for the victim, and New York workplace defamation lawyers can provide assistance taking appropriate action against the person who has made false statements in the workplace.
Legal Remedies for Defamation
Once our slander and libel lawyers have established defamation, there are two types of relief for defamation.
If the defamation has occurred in the past, we can seek compensatory relief in the form of monetary damages. If the defamation is currently happening, we can seek injunctive relief to force an end to the defamatory statements. An injunction is essentially a court order mandating that the defamer stop publishing or speaking the negative information about you.
Defending Against Claims of Defamation
Woolridge Law Firm not only represents those who have been defamed, but we also provide an aggressive defense for anyone who is accused of defamation.
If you’ve been charged with making a defamatory statement, our defamation attorneys have extensive knowledge of defenses you can raise to fight the accusations made against you. For example, a true statement is never defamatory. Opinions and comments also generally don’t fall within the realm of defamation. Our attorneys can also examine other factors recognized as defenses by New York’s common law.
Contact a New York Defamation Lawyer Today
Defamation has a very short statute of limitations and action should be taken right away. If you’ve been defamed, let the top ranked New York litigation lawyers help you make your case. Give us a call today to find out how we can assist you in stopping the damage to your reputation and obtaining an appropriate remedy.