Practice area Defamation
Duffy & Young has handled numerous cases wherein defendants have paid handsomely for the damage to a victim’s reputation. Our lawyers have defended defamation cases as well, ending cases after helping to show that the negative statements our client made about the plaintiff were, in fact, true.
Defamation: Proving Your Case
A claim for defamation allows an individual or business to recover money damages for injury to his or her reputation that results from of the communication of a false statement by a defendant. To prove that you have been defamed, you must demonstrate: 1) an untrue statement of fact; 2) published to a third party; and 3) caused injury to you or your business’s reputation.
The Truth is the Best Defense
The truth of a statement is an absolute defense to an action for defamation. Just because Dave says that Jane doesn’t pay her taxes does not, alone, mean that Jane can win a defamation claim against Dave. If Dave’s statement is and true, South Carolina law provides Dave a complete defense to Jane’s claim that Dave defamed her—even if Dave made the statement about Jane for an improper purpose.
Publication to a Third Party
A statement is considered “published” when it is shared with others. Defamatory statements take two forms depending on how they are published: libel and slander. A claim for libel consists of the publication of an untrue statement by written or printed words. Examples of libel include publication of a defamatory statement in a newspaper, on a flyer posted in a public space or in an email. Slander, on the other hand, is spoken defamation and publication is accomplished simply by saying the defamatory statement aloud to a third party.
In the age of social media, anyone can share information with millions of people with the simple click of a “Post” button. As it becomes more common for people to engage in online commentary, there is an increasing likelihood that a defamatory statement will reach a broader audience. When a falsehood about you or your business is posted online, you may have an actionable defamation claim.
Help in Your Defamation Case
Did a spoken or printed falsehood have an impact on you or your business? Give Duffy & Young a call to talk through key legal issues related to defamation lawsuits.
Attorneys who can help
Rutledge is a Charleston native and has been a trial lawyer for close to 20 years. Rutledge has represented injured people, defrauded investors, employees, borrowers, landowners, businessmen, and closely held companies. During his career Rutledge has tried cases against banks, insurance companies, publicly traded corporations, and national product manufacturers among others. Everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, and anyone can be held accountable through a jury trial.
- JD, University of South Carolina
- BA, University of Virginia
Brian C. Duffy is a trial lawyer with experience in civil cases of all shapes and sizes—from cases in the United States Supreme Court and with judgments and settlements of tens of millions of dollars to a variety of smaller disputes in South Carolina's trial courts and administrative law courts
- JD, Vanderbilt Law School
- BA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Julie is a trial attorney who advocates for her clients in courtrooms across South Carolina. She represents individuals and small business who have been treated unfairly - including families who've lost a loved one in wrongful death claims, consumers in product defect cases, patients who have been injured due to medical malpractice, and individuals and businesses who have been treated unfairly or been the victims of fraud.
- JD, University of South Carolina
- BA, University of South Carolina