Defamation is a false statement of fact that is published without privilege or authorization to a third party, which harms the reputation of another. Defamation can be spoken (slander) or in writing (libel). Statements may be defamatory per se (based on the words communicated by themselves) or per quod (through reference to extrinsic facts).
The injury involved with defamation is to the reputation of a person or a business. Rejection by family members and friends, lost business opportunities, and the cost associated with “clearing” one’s name are just some of the common and tragic results of defamatory statements.
At the Law Office of Stephanie G. Ovadia, we understand the damage inflicted by a reputation ruined due to false statements. Stephanie Ovadia has represented clients in all walks of life involved in defamation cases. She understands the importance of a thorough investigation and evaluation of a defamation case. If you believe you were the victim of defamatory comments, consider contacting the Law Office of Stephanie G. Ovadia today for a free consultation.
Defamation is defined as “the making of a false statement which tends to ‘expose the plaintiff to public contempt, ridicule, aversion or disgrace, or induce an evil opinion of him in the minds of right-thinking persons, and to deprive him of their friendly intercourse in society’”. (Foster v. Churchill, 87 N.Y.2d 744, 751  citing Rinaldi v Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 42 N.Y.2d 369, 379 ). A defamation action requires (i) a false statement that is (ii) published without privilege or authorization (iii) to a third party, (iv) constituting fault as judged by, at a minimum, a negligence standard, and (v) causes special harm or constitute defamation per se. (Restatement [Second] of Torts § 558).
“Special damages contemplate ‘the loss of something having economic or pecuniary value.’” (Liberman v. Gelstein, 80 NY 2d 429, 434-435 ). The accepted categories of defamation per se consist of statements (i) charging a person with a serious crime, (ii) tending to injure another in his or her trade, business or profession, (iii) stating a person has a loathsome disease, or (iv) imputing unchastity to a woman. (Id. at 435).
“So much depends on your reputation. Guard it with your life.”– Robert Greene
An ever-increasing issue is the proliferation of internet-based defamation. Often, defamation on the internet is anonymous. Many “review” websites allow people to anonymously post false statements with seeming impunity. The “review” websites themselves use Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to disclaim any and all liability for the postings of its anonymous posters, making the primary means of redress a legal action against the anonymous poster. Often, the only way these “review” websites will reveal the identity of its anonymous posters are through subpoenas, with removal requiring a court order.