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The defamation legal professionals at Swenson Law Group have been engaged on many occasions by individuals and companies who have seen their reputations, standings in the community, and good names damaged by false, disparaging statements. Whether the disparaging statement is spoken (slander) or written (libel), you may have legal recourse and should contact a defamation attorney. The attorneys at our law firm have experience handling libel and slander cases.
There are certain defamatory statements that the law considers to be so harmful that there is no requirement that the slandered or libeled person actually prove damages; instead, the law will presume the damage. This form of defamation is called defamation per se and applies to the following types of defamatory statements: (1) accusations that someone has committed a crime; (2) attacks on a person’s professional or business character or standing; (3) allegations that a person is infected with a sexually transmitted disease and (4) statements that a person is impotent or want of chastity.
In the business context, false and disparaging statements that target a business or its goods and services are also illegal and give rise to a cause of action for business defamation. Businesses that are defamed may recover from the economic loss caused by the defamation.
We invite you to contact one of our defamation attorneys for a consultation on your potential case.
Defamation is a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual, business, product, group, or government. Defamation can be in the form of libel (written defamation) or slander (spoken defamation).
Libel is a false written statement that damages someone’s reputation. To prove libel, the victim must show that the statement was published (meaning some third party saw it), caused harm, and made it without proper care (such as knowing it was false or acting reckless disregard for the truth).
Slander is a false spoken statement that damages someone’s reputation. To prove slander, the victim must show that the statement was made (meaning it was spoken), it caused harm, and the person who made the statement did so without proper care (such as knowing it was false or acting with reckless disregard for the truth).
There are a few defenses to defamation, including truth, opinion, and privilege.
Truth is an absolute defense against defamation. This means that there can be no defamation if the statement is true.
The opinion is a defense against defamation if the opinion cannot be proven false. For example, saying “I think that John is a terrible person” is protected speech because it is an opinion. However, saying, “I know for a fact that John has been arrested for child abuse,” would not be protected speech because it can be proven false (or true).
Privilege is a defense to defamation if the person making the statement has a special relationship with the person they are defaming (such as between a husband and wife) or if they are making the statement in official proceedings (such as in a court of law).
If you have been the victim of defamation, you may be able to recover damages. These can include compensatory damages (to compensate you for your losses), punitive damages (to punish the person who made the false statement), and attorneys’ fees and costs.
If you believe you have been the victim of defamation, you should contact an experienced defamation attorney to discuss your case. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and can represent you in court if necessary.