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Overview of business litigation involving defamation

On a number of levels, defamation has become a more commonplace cause for business litigation in Florida as a result of the ubiquitous nature of the internet. As the internet becomes ever more crucial to the operation of businesses of all types, litigation involving defamation is expected to become even more prevalent as a consequence.

Elements of a defamation case

Four elements must be satisfied in order to pursue a claim involving defamation:

  • A false statement purporting to be a fact must be made
  • The false statement must be published or communicated in some manner to a third person
  • At minimum, negligence must be demonstrated in the communication of the false statement
  • The subject of the false statement must have suffered actual damages

Knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard of the truth

A common area of contention in a defamation claim is whether or not the party who made a false statement knew or reasonably should have known it was not true. The plaintiff pursuing a defamation claim must demonstrate that the party communicating the statement knew it was false or failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain the veracity of the assertion.

Defamation involving a public figure

The standard for successfully pursuing a defamation claim involving a public figure is even more stringent. A public figure must demonstrate that a person who made an allegedly defamatory statement made the asserting with what legally is known as actual malice. Actual malice is demonstrated by showing a person or business that communicated a remark about a public figure had actual knowledge an assertion was false and made the statement anyway.

A defamation case is among of the most challenging types of claims to pursue. Success in such a case often depends on the assistance of a business litigation lawyer with a background in these types of matters.