DEFAME ”to attack the good name or reputation of, as by uttering or publishing maliciously or falsely anything injurious”.

 The California CIVIL CODE SECTION 43 protects you from defamation.

43.  Besides the personal rights mentioned or recognized in the Government Code, every person has, subject to the qualifications and restrictions provided by law, the right of protection from bodily restraint or harm, from personal insult, from defamation, and from injury to his personal relations.

California Civil Code Section 45 and 46 define Libel and Slander:

45.  Libel is a false and unprivileged publication by writing, printing, picture, effigy, or other fixed representation to the eye, which exposes any person to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy, or which causes him to be shunned or avoided, or which has a tendency to injure him in his occupation.

46.  Slander is a false and unprivileged publication, orally uttered, and also communications by radio or any mechanical or other means which:

1. Charges any person with crime, or with having been indicted,convicted, or punished for crime;

2. Imputes in him the present existence of an infectious,contagious, or loathsome disease;

3. Tends directly to injure him in respect to his office,profession, trade or business, either by imputing to him general disqualification in those respects which the office or other occupation peculiarly requires, or by imputing something with reference to his office, profession, trade, or business that has a natural tendency to lessen its profits;

4. Imputes to him impotence or a want of chastity; or

5. Which, by natural consequence, causes actual damage.

Defamation occurs when someone makes a false and inferior statement about someone else to a third party. The statement might attack the person’s professional character or standing or it may be a more personal attack on their private life. To constitute defamation, the statement must falsely accuse the plaintiff of immoral, illegal or unethical conduct.

Defamation is the general term for the action  and it includes both slander and libel. Libel and slander are both defamation, but libel is printed and slander is spoken. Generally, the written or spoken statement must harm the reputation of the person, but in the case of per se defamation, damages will be presumed.

What is per se Defamation?

Per Se Defamation means there is a Presumption of Harm.

Statements that are so naturally and obviously harmful, are considered per se defamatory.  In defamation per se claims the plaintiff does not have to prove actual injury to reputation because the harm to the plaintiff is presumed.

A defamation case is not the same as a personal injury case. The proof necessary for a defamation action is very different.  The elements of a cause of action for defamation generally must include:

  1. A false and defamatory statement concerning another;
  2. The unprivileged publication of the statement to a third party (that is, somebody other than the person defamed by the statement);
  3. If the defamatory matter is of public concern, fault amounting at least to negligence on the part of the publisher; and
  4. Damage to the plaintiff.

If you have been sued for defamation, there are defenses available.  Mr. Peter Cameron is the San Diego Civil Attorney who can help you understand your legal options.  Call our office today at 877-603-8473 or fill out the on-line form for more information.  We are here to help you with all your legal concerns.

This article is for educational and marketing purposes only and is not to be considered legal advice. It also does not establish an attorney-client relationship.