Commercial Defamation Lawyers
What do commercial defamation lawyers do?
When a person speaks or writes something that is false and damaging to reputation of another business or professional and communicates these statements to a third party, he/she may be liable for commercial defamation.
What Are The Elements Of Commercial Defamation?
To successfully bring a claim of commercial defamation, the business/professional must show the following:
1. There was a communication to a third party of
2. a derogatory and
3. false statement concerning the business/professional's reputation
4. which the third party understands to be both derogatory and about the business/professional.
Different states may require the proof of various additional elements, such as bad intention by the defamer and actual damages suffered by the victim.
Will Unintentional Communication Make Someone Liable For Commercial Defamation?
Yes, but only if you were negligent in making these damaging statements (i.e. you knew or should have known that these statements could be heard by a third party who would understand the statements to be derogatory). So you may still be liable even though you did not intent to do harm to the business/professional you defamed.
What Does Derogatory Mean?
Derogatory means that a "substantial and respectable minority" of the community as a whole would understand the statement to be damaging to one's reputation. Statements of opinion and statements that are annoying, unflattering, or embarrassing are generally not derogatory.
In the context of commercial defamation, the courts focus on statements that will injure one's trade or business and one's ability to making a living.
What Are Some Examples Of Commercial Defamation?
- Falsely accusing a professional that he/she does not have the particular skills or qualifications that are essential to his/her occupation;
- Statements imputing dishonest or corrupt behaviors, such as overcharging;
- Statements imputing poor credit, bankruptcy, and poor financial health; and
- Statements imputing mental disorder or incapacity;
How Can One Defend Against A Commercial Defamation Claim?
A person accused of commercial defamation may raise the following defense:
- The statement made is a truthful statement;
- The defamer has the consent of the business/professional to make such statements; or
- The statements made were not intended to convey actual facts, but rather they were meant to be a parody or a joke.
Do I Need an Experienced Lawyer?
A lawyer will help you with the often timely and difficult procedures involved in filing a defamation lawsuit. A lawyer will also help if someone has treated you unfairly because you filed defamation charges against them. If you are being sued for commercial defamation, you should speak to a lawyer immediately.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 06-24-2009 04:06 PM PDT
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