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Can I sue for Libel and Defamation?

New Haven, CT |

Recently after my business closed, newspapers and TV organizations ran stories that were completely false and very malicious in nature. Calling me a fraud and many other accusations that were false. I want to know if i can sue the people for ruining by name and business reputation?

Attorney Answers 3


I am not admitted in CT (only in CA), so I can only provide a sort of general response. In general, all defamation actions (slander is a type of defamation) require these elements :
(1) a false and defamatory statement concerning another;
(2) publication of the statement, without privilege, to a third party;
(3) fault on the part of the publisher, amounting at least to negligence, in ascertaining whether the statement is true or false; and
(4) special damages.
[Restatement 2d, Torts § 558]

Typically speaking, you must prove actual falsity and knowledge of the falsity of the statement, and such may be hard to prove, if there is any aspect that is true. Also, statements made that are merely "opinions" are protected. (For example, there's a difference between saying "I think that guy is a crook" and saying "that guy is a felon." In the first instance you may be stating an opinion, where the 2nd example, if false, could be defamatory.)

The 3rd issue to address is damages: it's often hard to show actual damages resulting from the publication. In your case, you'd have to show what damages you suffered as a result of the statements. If your business already closed, it may be hard to say that your business suffered any damage caused by the statements.

There are also certain "shield laws" that may apply to news organizations.

I'd suggest discussing this with local counsel.

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Attorney Hurd lays it out well, thus, you should search Avvo for a defamation lawyer in your state and call for a free consultation to discuss the facts and circumstances. Good luck.

Lassen Law Firm Personal Injury Lawyers Philadelphia. Phone 215-510-6755.

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The prior answer gives a good general description of the law of defamation.

You said, "after my business closed," therefore I wonder what your actual damages will be if the business was already closed? Nonetheless, if you feel strongly that you were wronged, the next step is to schedule an appointment with an attorney who has an interest in this area of the law.

I wrote this to help you and others who may face issues like yours in the future. I hope you find my response to be helpful and informative. If you do, please click the thumbs up icon. If this is your question and you find my answer to be the most helpful, please click best answer. I appreciate feedback. My answer is not legal advice and does not establish a client/attorney relationship. The question may not be a complete or accurate description of the problem and there is no chance to ask a follow up question. It is impossible to give complete advice without a thorough discussion of the facts, such as we would have during an initial consultation. Further, laws are different from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and are subject to change. So, please, do not act on any information provided without consulting with a lawyer licensed to practice in your jurisdiction who has experience with the kind of issues that concern you.

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