If you are a Florida business owner, you understand how important a good reputation is to your customers. However, someone can undo all of your good word of mouth if they lie or make false statements about you and your business. Your business may be entitled to recover damages because of defamation and the loss of your reputation.
Defining defamation per se
Defamation per se is written or spoken language that exposes a person to public ridicule, contempt, hatred or disgrace. It can be a statement that causes others to have a negative opinion of the victim to the point that others refuse to associate with them. An example could be a statement that accuses a person of unfair prejudice, incest, adultery or other extremely serious offenses.
Business torts, like defamation per se, go beyond saying that a business owner or the product is bad. It includes suggesting that the business or the business owner engaged in dishonest, fraudulent, deceitful or reprehensible conduct. In a defamation case, an individual could award a business or individuals punitive damages, specific economic damages and damages designed to help the plaintiff recoup their reputation.
Damages for defamation per se
General damages include compensation for past and future harm sustained to the business’s reputation in the community. It can also cover the personal humiliation, anguish or emotional or mental stress caused to the individuals whose reputation was damaged.
Special damages include compensation for specific economic losses. This can include things like loss of job or loss of profit. Nominal damages are a nominal sum of money that can be awarded when defamation has occurred but when the victim did not suffer serious harm to their reputation. Punitive damages can punish the defendant, especially in cases where their actions were malicious or willful.
A business’s reputation is worth its weight in gold. If someone lies and slanders a business, business owner or any of their associates, they might find themselves facing defamation charges.