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Slander Defamation Lawsuit Libel

Defamation and libel are defined as a false statement that injures someone's reputation and exposes him to public contempt, hatred, ridicule or condemnation. If the false statement is published in print or through broadcast media, such as radio or TV, it is called libel. If it is only spoken, it is called slander.

You often hear "Truth is the perfect defense against libel." A curious notion, not entirely supported by what goes on in the courts. Truth is a very good defense. It may prove an unshakable defense if you have unlimited funds to pay lawyers to defend it. If you don't you should build a better defense and or offense.

Defamation is defined as an untrue statement which causes you to be held in contempt or ridicule and as a result causes you damages.

Libel is a defamatory statement made in writing and slander is one made orally. If anyone has said anything that was offensive to you, you may have wondered if that person was guilty of having defamed you. A defamatory statement may either be a false writing, a picture or visual representation which exposes you to contempt, hatred, or ridicule, causes you to be shunned or avoided, or tends to injure you in you occupation.

A slanderous defamatory statement would be one which was false but made through oral communication by word of mouth, radio or television.Examples of some of the common types of defamatory statements are the following: (1) statements which make a claim about whether a person has committed a crime; (2) statements which impute the presence of an infectious or loathsome disease; (3) statements which injure a person with respect to his office, trade or business; and (4) statements which impute some lack of moral dignity. Even if the statements fit into one of these categories, which are not all inclusive, it is not defamatory if it is true.

Truth is an absolute defense in defamation cases. There are also other defenses in defamation lawsuits. A particular statement may be privileged in that the law allows certain statements to be made without them being classified as defamatory.

For example, statements made by certain public officers during the performance of their official duties are privileges.

Certain other communications may be privileged, but there are too many rules regarding privileges and they are too complex to be stated in the short length of this message. An attorney can help you with any particular case.

False statements which are made maliciously, in other words, those generated with the sate of mind arising from ill-will or hatred, are more often to be held by the courts to be defamatory than false statements which are not malicious (such as simple jokes or something of that nature). However, if the statement is true, there is still no defamation, regardless of what the person’s state of mind was at the time.

The defamation case is a difficult kind of lawsuit to win. The first amendment to the United States
Constitution protects freedom of speech and the courts have set forth a complicated set of rules that are used to determine whether particular types of statements are protected by the first amendment, regardless of whether they are false.