Requirements for mounting a libel or defamation suit

Your reputation may seem like it doesn't carry too much weight — that is, until someone else says something to tarnish it. It is difficult to know how to respond when someone is dragging your name through the mud, because some types of response will only make matters worse, while doing nothing at all is usually not helpful either. If you have concerns about defending your name, you can consult with an attorney to determine whether your circumstances justify a libel or defamation suit.

In order to successfully mount a libel or defamation suit, a plaintiff must demonstrate at least three and sometimes four components of the alleged libel or defamation. First, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the individual or individuals accused of the violation did actually make a false statement that is defaming or libelous. In general, if the things being said or published are actually demonstrably true, then a libel or defamation suit is difficult to win.

Second, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant did publish the statement to a third party. This can be something as unconventional as a streaming video on the internet, but must involve some from of publication.

Third, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant at the very least acted negligently, if not maliciously, in the publication of the statements.

In some cases, a court may require that the plaintiff also demonstrate that he or she suffered some specific damages.

If you believe that someone or some specific publication made libelous or defamatory statements about you, you can consult with an experienced attorney. Proper legal counsel can help you identify the strengths of your allegations and build a strong case while protecting your rights.

Source: FindLaw, "Elements of Libel and Slander," accessed Sep. 15, 2017

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