With the increase use of social and other online media, defamatory litigation cases have exploded in our court systems like never before. However, there are some instances whereby libelous statements may be allowed, of course, under certain circumstances. The fair report privilege can be used to defend against a defamation lawsuit. This is normally true when an individual is reporting on information of public interest that comes from such places as a judicial proceeding, a legislative hearing, a city council meeting, or testimony given at trial. However, there are very specific requirements that must be met in order for it to be accepted as a fair report privilege and not just a slanderous statement. Those include:
Archive for the ‘Defamation’ Category
As a defamation attorney specializing in internet and online slander and libel issues, it is important to advise the client of many of the nuances of defamation law. How does the trial court decide whether or not the statements are defamatory? Typically, it is the function of the trial court to determine in the first instance whether the communication complained of is capable of a defamatory meaning. If the court determines that the communication is capable of a defamatory meaning, then it becomes the jury’s function to decide whether it is so understood by those who read it. A statement is defamatory if it tends to harm the reputation of another so as to lower him or her in the estimation of the community or deter third persons from associating or dealing with him or her. In determining whether or not a statement on the internet is defamatory, the court must decide whether the communication complained of can fairly and reasonably be construed to have libelous meaning ascribed to it by the party. In making the determination upon the meaning of the article, it must be construed as a whole and each word must be read in context of all other words. The test is the effect the article is fairly calculated to produce the impression it would naturally in gender in the minds of average persons among whom it is intended to circulate. The words must be given by judges and juries the same significance that other people are likely to attribute to them.
The first step in any online or social media defamation case is to make sure that the essential elements of an internet defamation claim can be sustained. Defendants typically file a Motion to Dismiss or a Motion for Anti-SLAPP Violations in the first instance. So you have to get over that first hurdle if you ever want to see a jury.
Online defamation is serious business. If you are the victim of online defamation, you need to understand your options and make sure your first step is the right one. There are lots of ways to approach this problem. As an internet defamation attorney, I am rarely able to tell a prospective client what they should do out of the gate. You have to dig into the matter and find all of the little details. These details include such items as:
- Where is the information posted? Is it on social media, Facebook, Twitter, third party blog, or the person’s own website?
- Who is the person who posted the false libelous statements about you on the internet? Is it someone that you know or someone who is anonymous?
- How will the person react if you send them a threat letter? Are they likely to scale up and post more negative content harming your reputation, or back off?
- If the information is posted on a review site like GooglePlaces, Yelp, or one of the doctor rating forums, does that forum allow the person who posted the negative review to edit or delete it? Many websites take control of your content the minute you post it. You cannot log on and change anything. Other websites such as Yelp allow the user to edit or delete their content. This can make a big difference.
- How much money do you have to spend in legal fees in order to resolve the matter?
- How much is the online defamation costing you in terms of real money? If people are avoiding your business as a result of the review then you are losing money today.
You need to contact a internet defamation attorney in order to know what move is the right one.
It is so easy to sit down at your computer, iPad, or smart phone and vent your aggression, anger, or frustration by posting negative or false comments about someone else. In order to protect yourself, you create a special gmail address containing a name that is not in any way related to you. You use this gmail address to create an account on Yelp, ComplaintsBoard.com, RipOffReport.com, Google, or some other platform. You then set to work, flaming the person who is the target of your anger and frustration with all kinds of statements that you know will hurt their reputation.
You think you are very clever. You smile knowing how smart you really are. You feel anonymous and powerful. But guess what? An internet defamation attorney such as myself can find out who you are. Chances are, you have left digital clues as to your identity in the defamatory post itself or related to the account you created so cleverly to remain anonymous. But even if a good internet and technology attorney cannot quickly identify you from your digital trail, I could always send a subpoena to the platform on which you posted. Chances are, they have your IP address which will tell me what internet connection you used in order to post anonymously. From there, I can subpoena the internet service provider to find out who owns the account through which you accessed the internet. Assuming that doesn’t reveal your identity, I can always identify the computer used on the account to access the internet and trace it directly to you. You are no longer anonymous.
Sometimes, it is important to take a step back and take a big breath of fresh air. Do not let your anger and frustration compel you to do something you will later regret. While posting false and defamatory information is as easy as starting up your laptop, or turning on your smartphone, the damage that can be done to both you and the target of your frustration can last a lifetime. Even the best computer hackers in the world can often be traced and identified. Chances are, you don’t qualify as a world class hacker. I will find you. You will have to answer for the comments that were made online.
If you have any questions about how to identify an anonymous person on the internet, feel free to give one of our internet, technology, and defamation lawyers a call today.
Removing defamatory or libelous statements from Yelp is always challenging. If you are a business with Yelp reviews, you know how important those reviews and customer comments can be. If one customer posts false statements of fact as part of their Yelp review, that could constitute defamation libel. Because the internet is permanent, that Yelp review, which contains lies or false statements, could cost you money down the line.
As an internet lawyer specializing in internet defamation issues, we have to understand how various platforms and websites handle defamation and libel by third party customers, patients, clients, and even sometimes competitors who are pretending to be someone else. The good news is that with Yelp, a user can change or modify their review. This gives you the possibility of having that review, which contains defamatory statements, edited. It is critical that you understand that the very first communication that you have with the person that posted the review will be Exhibit A in any legal proceeding. We always recommend you allow a defamation lawyer who specializes in internet issues, and especially removal of reviews from Yelp, to send that first communication. Once a customer, patient, or client gets it in their head that “they are right”, changing their mind becomes incredibly difficult. You want the first threat letter or communication to hit the mark.
If you want to remove bad reviews from Yelp, you need to act fast and you need to do it right the first time. Contact a Yelp review attorney for more information.
Matt: Hi, and welcome back to Defamation Law Radio. My name’s Matt Plessner, and today’s subject targets business owners and managers. Google is a great place to get reviews. Good reviews can get a business a lot of great success, though bad reviews can be harmful or even fatal to a businesses reputation. How far is a person allowed to go with a bad review? And is there anything that you can do about it? We’ll answer these questions and more as we talk again today with the defamation attorney Enrico Schaefer of the Traverse Legal office of Traverse City, MI. Enrico, nice to have you.
Enrico: How are you doing today, Matt?
Matt: Doing very well, thank you very much. Let’s start out by talking about defamation. Enrico, what is defamation?
Doctor defamation is one of the most common types of defamation on the internet that we see. Our web defamation, slander, and libel attorneys work with a variety of hospitals, doctors, physicians, and nonprofit organizations who are battling to protect their reputations online. Doctor defamation tends to be more common because of the emotional component of physician/patient relationships and the care being provided. The stakes are high for the patient. That emotional component often translates into false or negative commentary posted on websites, blogs, facebook, twitter, and other social media forums where defamation is as easy to post as hitting “enter” on your computer keyboard.
There are a variety of different strategies that a good, experienced internet libel attorney will consider before responding to a false statement posted about a doctor, hospital, or physician. Like many areas of internet law, handling internet defamation cases requires tremendous skill and experience. There is far more to consider than just the legal elements of a defamation, libel, or slander legal claim. Perhaps the most important factor is who you are dealing with. Understanding who posted the false statements about you is as important as any other factor. Is the person who posted about you anonymous? Do you know who the person is who posted the false statements about you on the internet? Is the person who posted negative comments or ratings a former or current patient? Do you think it is possible that one of your competitors is pretending to be a current or former patient?
Doctor defamation could cause serious harm to your business and reputation. You need to understand your options, legal claims, and get educated about the important variables in handling a doctor defamation case. Feel free to contact our office in order to learn more.
Defamation on Facebook and Twitter:
Defamation on Facebook and Twitter is becoming more and more common every single day because it’s so easy to post a comment or an item onto your Facebook wall or onto your Twitter account. And because emotions run high sometimes, that spontaneous compulsion in you to say something really mean about someone else or to make something up about someone else can be very real, and it can result in big legal problems under defamation of character law.
Defamation of character claims can be challenging, but here’s what you need to know about what you have to prove in order to establish internet defamation or defamation of character on the web. In order to show that there is a defamation that has occurred, you have to prove that there was a false statement of fact about you or your business. Now, what is a false statement of fact? A false statement of fact in a defamation claim, whether it’s slander or libel is a statement that can be proven either true or false, or is false by implication.
Defamation is the general idea under the law that one may be held liable for the publication of a false statement of fact. Under the law of most states, defamation is separated into two separate types. The first is what’s called defamation per quod and the second is what’s called defamation per se.