Defamation is a false statement of fact negligently or intentionally published or communicated to a third party, causing damage or injury to the subject. Libel is a defamatory statement that is written, while slander is communicated orally.
A statement is considered defamatory if the subject is put to disgrace, contempt, scorn, disgrace, and ridicule in the mind of any faction of the community. There are statements that can automatically be considered as defamatory or “per se,” including claming that the plaintiff has committed crime, has terrible disease, or is incompetent in his or her profession or business.
False Statement of Fact
A defamatory statement is a false statement of fact. This means opinions are not considered defamatory statements. If the statement is vague and is only an opinion, no matter how rude it is, can’t be considered libel or slander. “I think John is dishonest” is a vague opinion statement. It can’t be considered defamation. But when someone says “John did not disclose the true amount of the budget which is $1 million,” then it can be considered a defamatory statement. It is a statement of fact, it is very detailed and it can definitely hurt John’s career.
That defamatory statement must be communicated or written to a third party. It can’t be considered a defamatory statement if it is only communicated to him or herself.
If the subject of the defamatory statement is a private person, the person who made the statement can only be liable under certain conditions.
- If the person who made the statement has an idea that it was false and defamatory
- If he or she acted recklessly when considering the truth before making the statement
- Negligent in determining whether the statement he made was true or not
If the defamed is a public figure, he or she must prove the same things that a private person defamed should prove. The only difference is the public figure should prove that the person who made the defamatory statement acted intentionally or recklessly.
Damage on the defamed means lost of earnings and capacity to earn due to the defamatory statement. It also includes pain and suffering, humiliation disgrace and ruined reputation.
If you plan to file a defamation lawsuit, it is best to hire a lawyer who is an expert on the matter to make sure you get what you deserve.