Defenses to Libel and Slander

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What Are Libel and Slander?

Libel and slander are two types of defamation. Defamation occurs when an individual makes false statements about another person or business that causes an injury. Libel includes statements made in a printed publication, whereas slander encompasses spoken statements. Although the law seeks to provide for a remedies to those who are harmed by others, the Constitution also provides certain kinds of protection. Thus, the First Amendment guarantees of free speech can make defamation cases quite complicated.

What Are the Defenses to Defamation?

There are several defenses that prevent liability for slander or libel.

Moreover, public figures bringing lawsuits for slander or libel must establish that the statement was made with knowledge that it was false or with a reckless disregard for the truth. This standard also applies when a private person seeks to sue a journalist. This creates a higher standard of proof for public figures, as well as for private persons seeking to sue reporters.

Additionally, technology has presented some interesting issues. For example, federal courts have deemed a blogger does not qualify as a media person for the purposes of the higher standard of proof.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you think that you have been a victim of libel or slander, an experienced personal injury lawyer can advise you of your rights and help you with the difficult process of filing a lawsuit. If you have been charged with libel or slander, an attorney can help you determine any defenses that might be applicable.

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Last Modified: 07-08-2014 10:14 AM PDT

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