A person can build and earn his or her reputation over many years - even decades - but it can only take a moment for a false statement to cause devastating harm to that reputation. And in a world with accessible, instantaneous communication that reaches across the globe, it is easier than ever to inflict harm on another's reputation, and the scope of the harm can be expansive.
Defamation refers to a statement that is false and injures the reputation of another. A defamatory statement can be either written or spoken. A plaintiff that prevails on a defamation claim can recover various forms of damages, including damages for harm to the plaintiff's reputation as well as harm to the plaintiff's business, trade, profession, or occupation.
Businesses and individuals can also be subject to a separate but similar claim of trade libel, which encompasses false statements concerning the quality of services or products of a business that are intended to cause that business financial harm and in fact do so.
Civil claims such as defamation and trade libel are complicated and sometimes difficult areas of the law, implicating concerns of free speech. The attorneys at Small & Schena LLP have prosecuted and defended these types of claims, sometimes involving damages exceeding millions of dollars. We also have extensive experience handling anti-SLAPP motions, which are commonly used in California to attack defamation-related claims early in the litigation process.
If you have a question regarding potential defamation or trade libel litigation, do not hesitate to contact us.