Defamation

A common saying goes, there is no such thing as bad press. However, if you or your business have suffered injury to your reputation as the result of another’s defamatory conduct, you may feel differently. While the First Amendment protects all manner of written and oral speech, the law does recognize that some speech, especially if untrue, is harmful. For example, if online posters have made claims that your business knowingly involved in fraud or other illegal conduct, you could suffer very real reputational and financial harm. 

If your reputation has suffered because of the defamatory conduct of another, contact one of the experienced defamation attorneys at Ananin, Chermol, Khattar, Fishman, PLLC to discuss your case today. 

Character Defamation Lawyer in Texas

Defamation, the act of damaging the good reputation of another, can be divided into two general categories, slander and libel. Slander is oral defamation, whereas libel is defamation via the printed word. 

Elements of Defamation

To prove defamation in a legal proceeding, a plaintiff must prove the following:

  1. The defendant made a false statement purporting to be fact. Not all false statement constitute defamation. For example, personal opinions generally are not defamatory;
  2. The statement was published or communicated to a third party. Here the third party must have understood the defamatory nature of the communication;
  3. The defendant knew, or should have known, the statement was false. ;
  4. The plaintiff suffered reputational harm or financial damages because of the statement. Some statements are so defamatory, however, that no harm must be proven. These statements are referred to as Defamation per se. This includes accusations such as criminal activity, unscrupulous business dealings, infidelity, racism, and discrimination. 

Statute of Limitations for Defamation

A statute of limitations is a law that creates a time limit within which a plaintiff must bring a lawsuit or otherwise lose his or her right to sue. In defamation cases, the Texas legislature has set a one-year statute of limitations. Thus, you generally have one year from the date a defamatory statement is published or uttered to bring a lawsuit. There are exceptions, however, where the defamatory statement is not inherently discoverable or not public knowledge. 

Defenses to Defamation

Once a defamation lawsuit has been filed, a defendant has a number of defenses he or she can claim to escape liability. The most common defenses to defamation suits include:

  • The statement was true;
  • The statement was mere opinion;
  • The plaintiff consented to publication of the statement;
  • The defendant retracted the statement;
  • The statement was privileged, such as in a judicial proceeding, legislative session, or made between spouses.

Contact a Texas Defamation Lawyer

If you or your business have suffered due to the defamatory statements of another, contact one of the experienced defamation attorneys at Ananin, Chermol, Khattar, Fishman, PLLC today. Call us at (866) MY1LAWYER or head to 1Lawyer.com and fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation and get help as soon as possible.

(866) 691-5299