Defamation Lawsuit in California

What is Defamation?

Defamation is any kind of statement that may cause potential harm to a third party's reputation.

You must be able to prove four facts in order to be able to establish a defamation claim in the state of California:

  1. The statement that was made was done so with negligence and with intention
  2. The false statement made about you by someone was purported as a “fact”
  3. Your reputation was hurt as a result of the false statement that was made
  4. The person who created the false statement made it public to a third party

There are two separate kinds of defamation in the state of California, these include libel and slander. What distinguishes these two kinds of defamation cases is whether the statement

California law recognizes two types of defamationlibel and slander. The main difference is whether a defamatory statement was made verbally (constituting slander) or in writing (constituting libel).

What is the difference between libel and slander defamation in the state of California?

In general, defamation is defined as a false statement made to cause damage and tarnish the reputation of another individual. According to California Civil Code 45 and 46, “Slader” is when a statement is made verbally, while “libel” is when a statement is made in writing.

In the state of California, defamed people have limited rights to recover damages in cases of civil lawsuits.

“Special Damages” or harm

The plaintiff must show that a specific publication made by the individual did in fact cause injury or “special damages.” In this cases, there are two different categories that California defamation cases can fall into, including:

  1. Defamation “per se”
  2. Defamation “per quod”

What is “Per Se” Defamation?

“Per se” defamation is broadly defined as anything that may be damaging without any further explanation.

In most “per se” cases, one person accuses another of committing a crime or not being fit to practice a certain profession.

What is “Per Quod” Defamation?

“Per quod” defamation is broadly defined as the publication not being defamatory worthy by itself, meaning that it requires further proof of the special damages.

Examples of special damages:

  • Employment consequences
  • Profit Loss
  • Less business traffic

Defamation Defenses in California:

The following include defenses in defamation cases within the state of California, but are not limited to the following:

  • The statement was not published
  • The statement was true
  • The statement was privileged
  • The statement was not made with malice
  • The statement was not negative
  • The statement was an opinion

An experienced California defamation attorney can advise you on which, if any, defenses might apply to your defamation suit.

How Long to File a Defamation Lawsuit?

In the state of California, a defamation lawsuit must be commenced within a single year.

An experienced California defamation attorney will be able to properly advise you on which, if any, defenses may apply to your defamation suit and guide you through the process.

Attorney Ramona Kennedy cares about your case and will fight for you.

You can contact attorney Ramona Kennedy Law Offices (Kennedy Law LC) for an initial consultation and case evaluation. The first consultation is free of charge. 

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