Jesse Franklin-Murdock, an Associate at Dhillon Law Group, discusses his anticipation for upcoming defamation cases and shares insights about defamation law.
Meet the Attorneys Defending Your Rights and Reputation
At Dhillon Law Group, we are passionate about defending you from defamation, either libel (written) or slander (spoken). We are available to counsel clients on what constitutes defamation, and our attorneys are prepared to defend you when your reputation is on the line. Our attorneys have expertise in the complex elements involved in a defamation suit, and we are determined to defend our clients and protect their rights.
At Dhillon Law Group, we understand the nuances of wrongful Internet or character defamation cases. We have successfully pursued damages for false statements made about our clients and successfully defended our clients against frivolous defamation suits filed against them. These disputes can often be resolved before filing a lawsuit, and it is our aim to assist clients in reaching a satisfactory resolution to their case as quickly as possible. We also advise on whether a defamation claim will be subject to an anti-SLAPP motion, which is common and should be assessed at the outset of any defamation case.
We are passionate about defending our clients against any malicious or misleading statements that might cause them harm. We are prepared to consult on all aspects of your defamation case. If your life has been adversely impacted by defamation, reach out to Dhillon Law Group for an evaluation of potential defamation claims.
Defamation encompasses both slander (when defamatory claims are spoken) and libel (when defamatory claims are printed). A defamation case may involve privacy aspects or considerations posed by statements made anonymously on the internet.
It is important to understand how the laws of various states define defamation. For instance, in California, there are two categories of actionable defamation claims:
- In defamation per se, damages against the individual are presumed.
- In defamation per quod, damages (monetary and general) must actually be proven.
A statement that offends someone does not necessarily qualify. For something to be defamatory, it must meet these criteria:
- Generally speaking, the statement must be false for it to qualify as defamation;
- The statement must be made by any person other than the victim;
- The statement must be made to someone other than the victim;
- The statement must not be privileged (for example, made during a court proceeding, or to one’s own lawyer);
- The statement must have caused damage in some form.
Special considerations apply to defamation claims against public figures. For a person in the public spotlight about whom statements are frequently made, a defamation lawsuit must allege and prove that the defamatory statement was made with malicious intent. This requires a heavier burden for a plaintiff to bear at trial and should be discussed as part of evaluating your defamation case.
In a defamation suit, the aggrieved party may be awarded three different types of damages:
- General damages are damages for the aggrieved party’s loss of reputation, shame, mortification, and hurt feelings.
- Special damages are damages to the aggrieved party’s property, trade, profession, or occupation.
- Exemplary damages are damages awarded in the discretion of the court or the jury, to be recovered in addition to general and special damages, and to be awarded for the sake of example and by way of punishing a defendant who has made the publication or broadcast with actual malice. (These are more commonly known as punitive damages).
If you have been falsely accused of defamation, we often seek early dismissal of claims to limit cost and distress. Court remedies may include an anti-SLAPP motion and early dismissal of the lawsuit, with defamation attorney fees reimbursed by the party who sued you.
To avoid liability, an individual being sued for defamation can raise defenses that include:
- Proving that the statement is true;
- Showing that no damage has been done;
- Showing that the individual had consent from the aggrieved party;
- Proving a claim of impunity or privilege.
Dhillon Law Group frequently provides effective legal defense for those whose First Amendment rights are being challenged by false allegations of defamation.