Do we have a case for defamation of character and libel?

Asked over 1 year ago - Kirkland, WA

Our company has been accused in writing of willful misrepresentation of facts in financial reports with the intent to deceive; one of the principals was accused in the same document of having questionable ethics.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Gary K. Marshall

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

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    Answered . You may have a case for defamation. As in most areas of law, the answer depends on the specific facts. There is no substitute to actually meeting with an attorney and discussing your case.

    You can sue someone for defamation. Any lawsuit is expensive to pursue. And proving the elements of defamation can be difficult.

    Defamation is a false statement, maliciously or knowingly made to injure someone, usually through ridicule and damage to that person's reputation. Libel is written defamation. Slander is oral defamation.

    Defamation requires:

    1) a false statement concerning another person.

    2) an unprivileged communication to a third party

    3) fault amounting to

    for public officials and figures - actual malice (actual knowledge that the statement is false or reckless disregard for the truth or falseness of the statement)

    for private figures - negligence (what a reasonably prudent person would do, acting under the same or similar circumstances)

    4) damages

    In many cases damages is the hardest part to prove. I can not tell if you have a case or not based on a brief description on this website. If you are still concerned you should talk to an attorney.

    This answer is not intended to be a substitute for personalized legal advice. I have presented only an overview of... more
  2. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . More info is needed to properly evaluate this situation. Best bet is to call a local defamation lawyer to discuss in detail. However, without damages, a lawsuit would likely cost thousands more than would be recovered. Defamation lawyers typically want at least a 5k retainer just to begin work.

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  3. Jeffrey Ira Schwimmer

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . First, "libel" is defamation of the written type. "slander" is defamation of the verbal type. Both require the making of a false statement of fact to a third party, which cause injury or damage. Truth is a defense to a charge of defamation, no matter how injurious the statement maybe. You ask a question but actually do not give enough information to provide an appropriate response and, quite frankly, given the subject matter you describe, this may not be the proper forum to discuss details as it is open to anyone to read. Seek a private consultation with an attorney in your area.

  4. Thomas A. Mackin

    Contributor Level 16

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I agree with Mr. Marshall's advice. I would also like to add that there are certain situations where libelous or slanderous statements may be protected or privileged, meaning you will not be allowed to act upon them. The most commonplace is statements made in a court.

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