A finding of defamation in general means that the defendant made a false statement about the plaintiff, the defendant published the false statement, and the plaintiff was injured as a result. The publishing element does not mean that the false statement has to appear in the Glendale News-Press, it just means that the false statement had to be made to a third party who understood the statement and understood that it was applicable to the plaintiff.
Common defamation scenarios
Our Glendale defamation attorneys at The Rager Law Firm frequently see defamation cases that fall into the following factual scenarios:
- A false statement is posted to Facebook, Twitter, or other social media publications.
- False statements being made about people in Internet chat rooms.
- Blog posts that contain defamatory statements.
- False statements made in the comments sections on blog posts and other published articles.
- False statements made as part of gossip in the community such as one person telling a neighbor something about another neighbor and often the defamatory statement will continue to spread from one person to another.
- Workplace gossip is similar where one employee makes false statements about a coworker to a third party coworker and it is passed on and as a result, the employee’s employment and/or reputation is negatively impacted.
- False statements made about a person in his or her business community that damages his or her reputation and/or business relations. These false statements are often made by business competitors or disgruntled ex-coworkers.
- Letters to the editor in a newspaper making false statements about a person.
See below for defenses commonly asserted by defendants in defamation cases.
- Truth – You may have heard the phrase: ‘The truth is an absolute defense’ and that is accurate when it comes to defamation. One of the requirements of defamation is that the statement made was false, so if it is proven to be true, there is no case for defamation.
- 1st amendment – Freedom of speech is of course protected by the Constitution and in order for a statement to be defamatory, it has to be a false statement, not just the defendant stating a negative opinion about the plaintiff.
- Privileged – There are a number of privileges that may protect the defendant in California cases including the fair report privilege, substantial proof privilege, and the opinion and fair comment privilege.
- Defendant did not make the statement – In this defense we often see the defendant placing blame on someone else who initiated the rumor. They may claim a case of mistaken identity by the third party or that someone else used their computer or hacked their social media account and published the false statement.
- Less protection for public officials and public figures in California – There is less protection for public officials when it comes to defamation and in order to prove defamation in those cases, actual malice must be proved.
- Statute of limitations – If the plaintiff waited too long to file the claim after the false statement was published, the defendant will argue to dismiss the case because the statute of limitations has expired.
If you have been affected by false statements someone published about you, contact our Glendale defamation attorneys at The Rager Law Firm to discuss the facts of your case. If you have suffered damages due to defamatory statements, you deserve to be compensated, and we will fight to see that you get the results you deserve.