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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. 

Internet Defamation

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.

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