Defamation

Defamation is a false statement, either written or oral, that harms the reputation of another person. In order to recover for defamation, a victim must establish that 1) the statement was false 2) the statement... more +
Defamation is a false statement, either written or oral, that harms the reputation of another person. In order to recover for defamation, a victim must establish that 1) the statement was false 2) the statement was communicated or published to a third party 3) the defendant caused the statement to be communicated or published, either intentionally or at least negligently 4) some harm was suffered as a result. less -
News & Analysis as of

Website Operator Not Liable for UGC; Also, Sun Rises in the East

Last month, the Sixth Circuit ruled that website operators are not liable for content provided by others (User Generated Content or UGC) because of Section 230 immunity under the Communications Decency Act in the Jones v....more

Dealing with the Dangers of Online Reviewing

Law tries to find the line between protecting speech and punishing defamation - Online review websites, such as Yelp or Angie’s List, have become a common forum for griping. They give a voice to past customers to...more

Reviews Posted Under a Pseudonym Could be Defamatory

As written on this blog before, plaintiffs often have difficulty when alleging claims of defamation against anonymous defendants. Unsurprisingly, websites that provide a forum for anonymous commentary are loathe to reveal the...more

Week in Review

Some high profile companies, including two technology giants, made headlines this week after former employees filed lawsuits against them alleging discrimination and harassment. The case against Yahoo is likely to be...more

Copyright As An Online Reputation Management Tool: A Round Hole For A Square Peg

So, how is copyright law doing as an online reputation management tool? We have written many times recently about the use of copyright law to do what defamation law can’t: take stuff down from the internet. A...more

Message Board Post Highly Critical of Company is Opinion and Thus Not Defamatory

An essential defense to a defamation claim is "pure opinion." In other words, if the defendant can show that the statements alleged to be defamatory are opinions protected under the relevant free speech laws, the defamation...more

Prime Minister of Singapore Moves for Summary Judgment in Novel Defamation Lawsuit

In papers filed today with the High Court of Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong moved for summary judgment in his defamation lawsuit against blogger Roy Ngerng Yi Ling. The prime minister’s action is the first...more

Protecting High Profile Reputations - Brownstein's $19 Million Verdict Stands After Appeal

In the modern age of the Internet where “news”—whether or not it’s true—spreads worldwide in an instant, high-profile corporate and individual reputations are under attack every day from business adversaries, disgruntled...more

When “Slacker” Was A Dirty Word: Defamation And Draft Dodging During World War I

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. The Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated on June 28, 1914 and, by the end of August 1914, Germany, Russia, France and the United Kingdom had joined the...more

Virginia Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Appeal in Yelp Users Defamation Case

Yelp.com (Yelp) labels itself an "online urban guide." Specifically, the website allows users to write reviews about experiences at businesses they've visited. It also permits users to browse the posted reviews. The...more

Sixth Circuit Reinforces CDA Immunity – Reverses Lower Court in Jones v. Dirty World

On June 16th, 2014, the Sixth Circuit reversed the lower court’s holding that the gossip site, TheDirty.com, was responsible for its users’ defamatory posts and could not rely on immunity under CDA Section 230. The appeals...more

Insurance Recovery Law - June 2014

Lab’s “Body Bag” Presentations Triggered Coverage For Defamation Claims: Why it matters - We’ve all sat through some pretty boring PowerPoint presentations. But the lesson from a recent decision: it might be a...more

Defamation Claim Against HBO Sports Documentary Proceeds; International Sporting Goods Supplier Not a Public Figure

On May 16, 2014, in Mitre Sports v. HBO, the Southern District of New York allowed a defamation claim brought by a UK company against HBO to proceed to trial. In doing so, the Court ruled that Mitre Sports International, one...more

Outlook 2014: Untruthful posts to consumer review websites could result in lawsuits

Q. Are customer comments posted on consumer review websites protected speech under the First Amendment or are individuals who post opinions potentially subjecting themselves to a libel lawsuit? A. While the First...more

D.C. Court of Appeals Permits Early Anti-SLAPP Appeals for Anonymous Speakers

In a victory for anonymous speech, journalists and free speech advocates, the D.C. Court of Appeals, in John Doe No. 1 v. Burke (No. 13-CV-83), issued its first decision under the D.C. Anti-SLAPP statute....more

Online Reputation Protection and Repair

Arriving at his warehouse last week Knott Faire, owner of Faire Carpet Cleaning, discovered yet another complaining critique posted on WELP: “Lots of hype, a mediocre cleaning and a hassle at the end. Don’t get tied up with...more

Pejorative Statements by Former Patient are not Defamatory, but Protected Opinion

It is fair to say that doctors trade on their reputations more so than most other professionals. When one relies on the doctor to ensure his or her health, and occasionally save a life, the import of such a choice often...more

Communications Decency Act Forecloses Liability For “Amplifying,” “Endorsing” and “Adopting” Defamatory Statements With Hyperlink

Two weeks ago, in Vazquez v. Buhl, the Appeals Court of Connecticut affirmed dismissal of a defamation claim against CNBC for hyperlinking to an online report by journalist Teri Buhl. The Court held that, although CNBC...more

Hospital Accepts Physician’s Invitation To Defame Him

A Vermont doctor sued a hospital for defaming him. The court agreed he’d been defamed but threw the case out anyway. Why? Because the physician had “invited” the defamation. The hospital merely accepted the invitation....more

Living With Others Thinking You're Fu*king Crazy

One of the issues we address in this blog is the notion that social media doesn’t necessarily create new claims, but rather serves as a quicker and easier platform to apply traditional claims that have existed forever. Take...more

A “Dirty” Lawsuit: How a Sex Scandal Could Impact Online Defamation Law

A former high school teacher and NFL cheerleader sleeps with her student. She faces widespread scorn, including scathing Internet comments. Despite the scorn, she becomes engaged to the student....more

Managing a Company’s Online Reputation Doesn’t Need to be Risky Business

Research shows that positive reviews on online review sites such as Yelp are actively driving consumer’s buying behaviors. And there’s no surprise that negative reviews have also have an impact. ...more

Catholic Priest Permitted To Conceal Non-Privileged Nature Of Defamatory Communication Until Statute Of Limitations Runs

In a recent unanimous decision in Harrington v. Costello, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) held that the statute of limitations had run out on a Catholic priest’s defamation claim against his colleague, even...more

New “Twibel” Defamation Opinion Suggests Online Speech May Be Special After All

Many lawyers smirked and scoffed a few months ago when the popular press began touting the Courtney Love “Twibel” trial as a “landmark” case that would set a “major precedent.” In fact, as discussed further elsewhere, it was...more

Florida Court: Blogger Entitled To A Pre-Suit Retraction Demand For Alleged Defamatory Comments

In Comins v. VanVoorhis, a Florida court has addressed the question of whether bloggers should be treated as "publishers" under defamation and libel law...more

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