Libel, Slander and Defamation of Character
Your personal and business reputation is an important part of your identity and a valuable asset. Whether you work hard to build that reputation as an individual (hard worker or business leader) or as a business (community partner or trustworthy business), it can take seconds to ruin it by false allegations of misconduct or wrongdoing; especially with today’s technology like the internet, Facebook and Twitter.Defamation, Slander & Libel Defined:
- Defamation - the issuance of a false statement about another person or company, which causes that person or company to suffer harm (reputation and standing in the community). Defamation is typically composed of two causes of actions – libel and slander.
- Slander – making defamatory statements (false and reckless) through spoken works (oral representation such as spreading rumors or malicious statements by business competitors, spiteful co-workers, former employers, etc.).
- Libel – making of defamatory statements (false and reckless) in a printed or fixed medium, such as a magazine, newspaper or online such as a website or a social media site like Twitter.
Plaintiffs are required to prove each and every element of a defamation case. Slander cases tend to be harder to prove as slander involves a spoken word, while libel cases have the benefit of having the document or publication. Many people are often confused by their first amendment rights and the right to free speech (public and private figures) and what constitutes a false statement.
In order to prove defamation the courts have set the bar high:
- You have the burden of proving that the information is false or that the person acted with reckless disregard for the truth.
- You have the burden of proving intent. If the words themselves are not vicious, you have to show malice or motive behind the libelous or slanderous statements.
- You have the burden of proving you or your business has been harmed. For example: Has your business suffered? Were you were fired or “blacklisted” from employment? Has your personal reputation or relationships suffered in some tangible way? Has the ordeal caused you severe emotional distress? Did you have to quit or take leave from your job? Are you under a doctor’s care for the stress and anxiety? Have you received nasty comments or threats?
Defamatory accusations can ruin your business, destroy your livelihood, affect your ability to get a job, or destroy your character and reputation. The attorneys at KALIS, KLEIMAN & WOLFE’s help individuals and businesses who are the victims of defamation, libel or slander. We have extensive experience representing Fortune 500 Companies, multinational corporations, professionals, entrepreneurs and small and medium sized businesses.
If your reputation has been called into question by defamation, libel or slander and you have questions regarding your legal rights, contact the experienced Commercial Litigation Attorneys at KALIS, KLEIMAN & WOLFE, the South Florida-based law firm today at (954) 791-0477.