Florida Defamation Lawyers Representing Clients in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties

Defamation can be utterly devastating for your personal life and business. When someone else has wronged you by spreading lies or rumors, your reputation in the community is affected. You may begin to notice a substantial drop in business, clients canceling orders, and disgruntled individuals spamming review sites for your business with false negative reviews. While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, there are restrictions on what speech is protected, and defamation does not qualify. The First Amendment does not permit individuals to spread lies about others or about businesses.

If you have fallen victim to defamation, you don’t need to feel like all is lost. Kaiser Romanello can help save your reputation by aggressively fighting false claims, tracking down the perpetrator, and pursuing justice. Kaiser Romanello serves clients located in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties, as well as other South Florida areas. Kaiser Romanello is well-versed in both state and federal defamation laws and has years of practice litigating in both Florida Circuit Courts and federal district courts. To schedule a free appointment to discuss your defamation claims at our Parkland, Florida office, call Kaiser Romanello at 855-200-1000 today.

Definition of Defamation

Defamation is the civil tort of spreading false statements about another, which in turn causes legally cognizable harm such as loss of business or harm to reputation. Defamation is largely limited to private individuals and citizens. Public figures, such as politicians, enjoy little protection under Florida defamation laws. The policy reasoning behind this is that per the First Amendment, courts want to encourage free speech and commentary on public figures. Public figures can only win defamation lawsuits when they can prove that the defamation was not “fair comment” but rather, done for malicious intent. One such example occurs when a political rival spreads lies about another candidate in order to obtain a jump in the political polls. Defamation comes in two formats: libel and slander.

Libel

Libel is printed defamation. It must be published in some form, though publication for purposes of libel is not synonymous with publication by a media source. Publication can include, without limitation, the following:

  • Social media posts over Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and more
  • Yelp and Google reviews
  • Web pages or websites
  • Blog posts
  • E-mails
  • Articles
  • Letters
  • Pictures and cartoons
  • Signs and other postings
  • Books
  • And more

Slander

Slander is oral defamation. It is most commonly associated with defamation spread through the rumor mill. However, it can occur during, without limitation, the following:

  • A speech
  • An announcement
  • A radio broadcast
  • An advertisement
  • A simple conversation

Elements of Defamation

Defamation requires: (1) a false statement that is (2) conveyed to a third person that (3) results in irreparable harm.

False statement: Opinions are not false statements, as they are protected by the First Amendment. For example, a customer posts on your business’s Facebook page, “I do not like the taste of your coffee. It is too bitter.” This may turn away other potential customers from trying your coffee, but this statement is simply the patron’s opinion. It is not false. On the other hand, if the customer, e.g., posts that your company harms animals during the process of making the coffee and this statement is untrue, the statement is libelous. In addition, true statements are not libelous, even if they are harmful to your reputation. If you do in fact harm animals while processing your coffee beans, you cannot sue the writer for sharing the truth. Finally, you must be able to prove that the statement is false. This burden is on you as the plaintiff. It is not the burden of the defendant to prove the statement was true.

Third person: A statement cannot adversely affect your reputation or business if no one knows about it. If an angry customer writes you a letter that makes false accusations about your business but does not give a copy of the letter to anyone else, only you and the customer know about the false statements in the letter. This will not affect your reputation because no other customers have knowledge of the accusations. However, when the defendant communicates the libel or slander to a third person, the defamation becomes actionable. Only one person needs to be the recipient of the false statement.

Harm: In order to obtain damages for defamation, it is necessary that you have suffered some sort of harm. This harm can be non-economic, such as pain and suffering or damage to your reputation. This harm can also be economic, such as losing your job. If you are a business and you lose sales as a result of the injury to your reputation, you can seek damages in the amount of your estimated lost sales.

Are You the Victim of Defamation?

If you have suffered injury due to another’s false statements about you or your business, you may have a defamation claim. Kaiser Romanello can review your case, explain all facets of the law, investigate the statements, explain your various legal options, and proceed to negotiations or trial to pursue justice on your behalf. To discuss your potential defamation claim with a skilled defamation lawyer in South Florida, call Kaiser Romanello, located in Broward County, at 855-200-1000.

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