What is Libel?
Libel is the making of false statements about another person or business to someone else. Libel must refer to statements or visual depictions in written or other permanent form such as writings, pictures and signs.
How Can you Recover for Libel?
In order for you to recover for libel, the false statement must be defamatory, meaning that it actually harms the reputation of the other person, as opposed to being merely insulting or offensive.
How Can you Prove the Libel was Defamatory?
There are specific elements that must be shown in order to succeed in a libel claim:
- Must have been in print and read by at least one other person (other than the subject of the statement) and must be "of and concerning" the plaintiff. This means that those reading the statement must recognize that it specifically deals with the plaintiff.
- Must also be a false statement of fact. Name-calling and heated exchanges do not qualify as libelous statements.
- Must have been made with fault. Public figures must prove actual malice. Private individuals must only prove negligence.
What Kind of Damages is a Successful Libel Claim Entitled to?
Money damages are the normal award for a successful libel claim but punitive damages are occasionally awarded as well.
Who Can Bring a Libel Claim?
A libel claim can be brought by living persons as well as legal entities such as corporations and unions and any entity considered a "person" under the law. Governmental entities cannot bring suit for libel but government officials can if statements were directed towards the official individually.
Is a Libel Claim a Civil or Criminal Claim?
Libel and slander are civil claims, but some states recognize an action for criminal defamation. Prosecutions are rare, especially against the media.
Do I Need an Experienced Libel and Slander Lawyer?
A lawyer will help you with the often timely and difficult procedures involved in filing a libel lawsuit. A lawyer will also help if your employer has treated you unfairly because you filed defamation charges against them. If you are an employer being sued by a former employee for libel, you should speak to a lawyer immediately.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 05-02-2013 11:20 AM PDT
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