Posts Tagged ‘defamation of character’

How Does the Court Decide Whether Something is Defamatory?

Friday, May 9th, 2014

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 Onlinedeter 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.

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How to Prove Defamation of Character on the Internet

Friday, August 31st, 2012

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.

Continue reading How to Prove Defamation of Character on the Internet »

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Actions for Victims of Defamation

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Well, Matt, the first steps that we normally recommend is to have the victim of internet defamation provide us with the defamatory posts and their explanations why they believe the posting is defamatory.  So, the first thing that we do is to identify all of the postings that are at issue.  And then, with the assistance of the victim of the internet defamation posts, identify whether it is, in fact, defamatory.

Continue reading Actions for Victims of Defamation »

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Business Defamation and Damages

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

…we are all familiar with defamation which occurs against individuals, in other words, when an individual is subject to both a false and defamatory statement which is untrue.   But in the business world, business defamation occurs quite frequently among competitors and otherwise.  For instance, an advertisement that is both false and defamatory, that is suggestive of an individual’s business can be the subject of business defamation.  Also there are statements on the Internet, for instance, about a business either expressly or impliedly which can result in what we call business defamation, which are false and defaming statements which hurt someone’s business.

Welcome to Defamation Law Radio. Internet defamation of character is as easy to perpetuate as a blog post, Facebook update, rating submission, or a forum comment.  Your online reputation is measured by the websites return as Google search results.  Do you know what people are saying and writing about you?

Continue reading Business Defamation and Damages »

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What is a Defamation of Character Assessment?

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Welcome to Defamation Law Radio. Internet defamation of character is as easy to perpetuate as a blog post, Facebook update, rating submission, or a forum comment.  Your online reputation is measured by the websites return as Google search results.  Do you know what people are saying and writing about you?

Welcome to Traverse Legal Radio.  My name is Attorney Enrico Schaefer and I, along with several other attorneys in the firm, specialize in defamation of character issues. Specifically, in internet law related defamation issues wherein defamatory statements have been posted on the internet.  So, when you are the victim of an online defamation attack or have been wrongfully accused of internet defamation, we can help you understand what your options are, what your risk is and how much it’s going to cost to handle a variety of different approaches to making the matter go away, or otherwise handling the defamation matter.

Today, I want to talk a little bit about our defamation assessment.  And It’s typically the very first spot that brings you into our law firm.  We need to understand your issue.   Whether or not you’re a victim of defamation of character or have been accused of defamation of character.  We need to understand the background facts. We need to understand what your goals are.  We need to understand what cases might apply, what principles might apply.  Whether or not there is Anti-SLAPP statute that might apply.  We need to understand what documents are out there. What is the website look like.  What has been said. Whether or not is qualifies as defamation under law.  We need to understand your risk tolerance and your budget in order to be able to provide recommendations about what your options are and what you might do next, and most importantly, what it will cost if you select options one, two or three.

So, the defamation assessment is the most important thing that we perform on behalf of our defamation of character clients.  It’s the thing that puts us into the knowledge base that allows us to make recommendations to the client about what they should do and how much it’s going to cost. So, our defamation of character assessment project works like this.

We get you signed up as a Traverse Legal client.  The first thing we do is we need to obtain all the background information from you concerning the defamation of character incident.  We certainly need to understand the website where the posting occurred or if it was on Facebook or Twitter, etc., we need to see the post. We also need to interview you to get further background information about who did the posting or who’s making the defamation accusation, so we can understand who they are.

We also need to do a search to see if, in fact, there have been other cases involving this person or this website.  We need to review the terms of service of the various websites that the matter was posted on.

The next thing we need to do is we need to interview you in order to understand what are your goals and what are your priorities.  Some clients have very serious matter and they need the websites or web pages removed from the internet.  Some people believe that removal is not going to be possible and they need to understand what their litigation options are if they were to sue for defamation of character.  Some people just need it to stop on a moving forward basis.  Some people who have been accused of defamation need to the person who’s making the accusation go away, to help them understand that what occurred was First Amendment protected opinion, therefore, there is no defamation, etc.  When it comes to the websites where the information is posted, we need to understand does that website have a policy that would allow us to either remove, by threat letter, the defamatory content or can the defendant (the person accused of defamation of character) have to actually request to have their comments taken off the website.  We need to understand what your specific goals are and what kind of information is going to be required in order to meet those goals.

The other thing we need to do is prioritize them.  Sometimes, the most important thing is to have the content from the web removed.  Other times, there are priorities that are more important.  We need to understand what kind of legal budget you bring to the table in order to handle this matter.  If your total budget is $3,000, then we’re going to have to see what kind of strategy we can put together to give you a reasonable chance at accomplishing your goals within that budget.  If the matter is costing you your reputation for the rest of your life, costing you business and consumers or job opportunities, if it’s costing you your relationships with the people in your neighborhood or your friends and family, then the matter is more serious. And, obviously, you’re going to be in a position where you’re going to be willing to spend more money in order to accomplish your goals.  The reason is simple.  If the defamatory post is going to cost you your reputation or your business reputation and, therefore, going to cost you tens or hundreds of hundreds of thousands of dollars in business, then it certainly makes sense to spend more money in order to try to fix the situation.

Once we understand the background information, once we understand your goals, once we understand what kind of budget we’re working in, we can then tell you what your options are, the likelihood of success of those options, and how much the next phase of the project is going to cost.  How much money we expect it would cost to send takedown letters to the various websites.  Whether or not it makes sense to spend money on trying to have defamatory content taken down from those sites based on their policies.  Whether or not it makes sense to send a threat letter to the person who posted the information, assuming that person can be identified one way or another.  Whether or not it makes sense to file litigation in order to get a subpoena power in order to get information from an ISP or web hosting company about who posted the defamatory content.  We will be able to provide you options and the costs of those options for the next phase.  That is the assessment project.  It allows us to make recommendations, give you legal advice and tell you what the next step is going to cost.

One interesting thing about our law firm Traverse Legal compared to many other law firms, is we tend to handle these on a defined deliverable flat fee basis, so we guarantee price.  We can tell you that the assessment is going to cost X, you’re not going to pay any more than X for the assessment.  During the assessment, we will be able to say that we recommend that you run a threat letter project against the person who posted the defamatory information, it’s going to cost you X and it’s going to take you all the way through the response and analysis of the response.  We work on a defined fee deliverable basis that works for you.  That way, you can stage the matter out making sure that the money you are spending makes sense on a return on investment basis, you take one step at a time and work your way through the process.  We always recommend for people who come to us on internet defamation issues that occur online that we do this defamation assessment so we can get you up to speed and help you understand your legal rights, your options and the cost involved.

My name is Defamation Attorney Enrico Schaefer, we’ll see you next time.

You’ve been listening to Defamation Law Radio, where defamation of character, slander, and libel are always the topic of the day.  Whether you are a defamation attorney or a client, we are the number one resource for all your defamation questions.

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How to Identify an Anonymous Internet User

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Welcome to Defamation Law Radio. Internet defamation of character is as easy to perpetuate as a blog post, Facebook update, rating submission, or a forum comment.  Your online reputation is measured by the websites return as Google search results.  Do you know what people are saying and writing about you?

This is Brian Hall an internet law attorney with Traverse Legal, PLC; a law firm representing those involved in defamation actions throughout the United States.  Today, I will be answering the question, “how to identify anonymous internet users.” Continue reading How to Identify an Anonymous Internet User »

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Is Truth a Valid Defense to a Claim of Internet Defamation?

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Welcome to Defamation Law Radio. Internet defamation of character is as easy to perpetuate as a blog post, Facebook update, rating submission, or a forum comment.  Your online reputation is measured by the websites return as Google search results.  Do you know what people are saying and writing about you?

Welcome to Defamation Law Radio, my Name is Enrico Schaefer, and I am an internet law attorney at Traverse Legal, PLC.  We specialize in Internet law and online defamation.  Today, we are going to be talking about defending against bogus claims of defamation, and specifically, defamation that occurs on the Internet. Continue reading Is Truth a Valid Defense to a Claim of Internet Defamation? »

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A Defamation of Character Claim Requires a False Statement of Fact

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Welcome to Defamation Law Radio. Internet defamation of character is as easy to perpetuate as a blog post, Facebook update, rating submission, or a forum comment.  Your online reputation is measured by the websites return as Google search results.  Do you know what people are saying and writing about you? Has someone posted a defamatory statement about you on the internet?

Welcome to Defamation Law Radio.  My name is Internet Law Attorney Enrico Schaefer.  My law firm specializes in internet defamation claims litigation both in representing plaintiffs who have been the subject of a defamatory statement and also defendants who’ve been accused of defamation of character.  Typically, our law firm specializes in defamation that occurs on the internet.  That is, blog posts, websites, review sites, these types of things where people provide information and communication about a variety of things, including other people and other companies.

Previously, we’ve had shows that dealt with the issue of what is a defamatory statement and what is publication.  Today, I want to talk about the third element of defamation, the third general element of defamation under most state defamation law.  The third element that any plaintiff who files a claim or lawsuit alleging defamation on the internet.  The third thing they’re going to have to prove is that the defendant knew or should have known that the statement that they made, the alleged defamatory statement, was false. Continue reading A Defamation of Character Claim Requires a False Statement of Fact »

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What is Defamation? Proving a Defamatory Statement.

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Welcome to Defamation Law Radio. Internet defamation of character is as easy to perpetuate as a blog post, Facebook update, rating submission, or a forum comment.  Your online reputation is measured by the websites return as Google search results.  Do you know what people are saying and writing about you?

Welcome to Defamation Law Radio.  My name is Internet Law Attorney Enrico Schaefer.  I specialize in Internet Defamation.  That is, defamation that occurs online, on the World Wide Web, and, of course, we all know defamation involves both libel and slander.  Libel is written defamation and, of course, slander is spoken defamation.  In the internet space, it means this.  If a statement is written on a website, it’s potentially libel.  If it’s on a You Tube video or another video or an audio, then it is spoken, and it may be slander.

There are several elements of defamation.  Generally, you have to prove as a plaintiff that a defamatory statement was made, that’s the first element.  The second element is that you have to prove that that defamatory statement was published to third parties, that’s the second element.  And the third element is that you have to prove as a plaintiff that the publisher (the defendant) knew or should have known that the statement that they made which harmed the reputation was false.  So, those are the three general elements. Continue reading What is Defamation? Proving a Defamatory Statement. »

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How to Defend Allegations of Defamation of Character?

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Have you been wrongly accused of defamation of character on the internet?  You need to speak with a internet lawyer before the problem get’s worse.  Often times, you will receive a defamation threat letter demanding that you remove the alleged defamatory statement or the complaining party will have their attorney file a defamation case against you.  If you are a web hosting company or web site owner who has been provided notice of defamation, or a violation of your Terms of Service (TOS),  you need to understand your potential liability and immunity under Section 230 of The Communications Decency Act (CDA). If you receive notice from an ISP or web host that a subpoena has been issued to identify you as the author of an alleged false statement, you may not have much time to hire a defamation defense attorney and quash the subpoena.

If someone files a defamation of character lawsuit against you, you need legal representation fast. Often times, your attorney will have between 21 and 30 days to analyze the matter and file an Answer to the Complaint.   Some defenses include: truth, first amendment, privilege, immunity, statement of opinion, laches, statute of limitations, failure to state a claim and numerous other defenses which could apply to your case.

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