In this age of social media, any type of content published can be circulated to a wide audience very quickly. A professional reputation that may have taken years to establish can be wiped out in an afternoon.
People have a right to protect their interest in their ‘good name’ against false information that could discredit their reputation and affect them negatively – financially or socially. When false information is broadcast and it causes harm, the law gives people the right to recover financial compensation from the broadcaster.
At Mancini & Associates, we are well aware of the amount of false information that is often circulated and how hard it can be to undo the damage once it has been done. Our Los Angeles business torts attorneys help clients recover from the damage done to their professional reputations by the publication of false information.
Defamation refers to the damage done to a person’s reputation by the publication of false information. When defamation is written or visual it is called libel. When defamation is spoken it is called slander.
The California Civil Code defines libel as the publication of a false message or visual representation that exposes a person to:
Slander can occur when a voice is overheard making a false comment about someone with regard to any of the following:
What is not defamation is any broadcast or published information that is true. True information can still be plenty damaging but the law does not protect people from the negative effects of their own doings.
The law also excludes certain ‘privileged’ communications in furtherance of law enforcement, judicial, or legislative proceedings from liability for defamation.
In order to succeed with a defamation case, the party claiming defamation must show that:
When the party claiming defamation is a ‘public figure’ they have to show more than that the person communicating the facts wasn’t sure about their truth. Public figures must demonstrate that the person communicating the facts knew that the facts were false or didn’t care if they were false or not.
The internet and social media often invite or at least give people the opportunity to make comments or give opinions. The giving of opinions in order to share ideas – even if they are negative – is generally protected free speech and not defamation.
But the line between defamation and free speech gets fuzzy when an opinion may be stated as though it were a fact. Claiming a damaging communication was based on an opinion does not ensure it will receive constitutional protection.
In this digital world, we now live in where it can be hard to know what information is accurate and what is not, business and personal reputations are as important as ever. Negative false information can be very damaging to a person’s occupation or other social aspirations.
If your reputation has been damaged by the publication of false information, the Los Angeles defamation lawyers at Mancini & Associates are ready to help you clear your name and recover for the losses you have unfairly suffered. In Los Angeles, Ventura, or Orange County call us at 818-783-5757 or contact us here to schedule a free consultation.