Defamation

Individuals often heavily rely on their reputations and credentials to conduct themselves throughout life. In the case that defamation occurs, damages can ripple throughout and it may affect many aspects of a person’s life.  

Defamation occurs when an individual, group, or company make false statements about another party while being fully aware that they are incorrect. These accusations often cause serious damage to a person or companies’ reputation. Texas law often classifies any incorrect statements as defamation of character. This includes when defamation is written and or spoken which are considered libel and slander respectively. The most common form of defamation lawsuit results from a company’s reputation being misrepresented. Individuals may claim that representatives of the company were dishonest, undesirable to conduct business with, or rude. This will obviously harm the company’s reputation and consequently their business. Financial harm and reputational harm are the two main charges that often coincide. If statements made by third parties cause business to decline, it may constitute financial harm. Health problems like anxiety, depression, or general mental anguish that occur from defamation can also be compensated under the defamation charge. 

Defamation in Texas

The different elements of defamation within Texas law vary widely due to the amount of fault that must be proven in different cases. Within Texas, a person who is considered a public, private, or limited public officials must prove the person who conducted the defamation had actual malice. Actual malice is described as the act of making false statements while actively knowing the statements are false. Public figures include any individual who is generally employed by the U.S. government. Private figures are individuals who have no connection to the government and do not need to prove actual malice, only that the statement was negligent. Additionally, there is a variation of defamation called “defamation per se.” Defamation per se is described as statements that are likely to injure a person’s reputation. Under this form of defamation, the plaintiff is not required to prove that their reputation was damaged. These statements include claims that attack the person’s reputation, character, or claims that a person is engaging in sexual activity. On the other hand, “defamation per quod” are what defamation is classified as when the plaintiff must prove that damages exist.    

In conclusion, defamation occurs when an individual makes a knowingly false claim that can harm another’s reputation. This varying degree of fault changes depending on who received damages due to the false statements. If you have questions about defamation, contact a business litigation attorney, like a business litigation attorney in Arlington, TX, about it today. 

 

Thanks to Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC, for their insight into defamation lawsuits.