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Slander

Can you sue someone for Slander? Sure, you can sue someone for slander. But you need to know what slander means before you can sue. Most people simply do not understand what slander means. Slander does not mean that someone said mean and cruel and nasty things. To be slander, a person has to tell a lie. He or she has to know it is a lie. This is for the specific purpose of damaging a person’s reputation. Suing someone for slander is not something that should be taken lightly.

This is a serious allegation and if you don’t have solid proof of it. Don’t even try to sue someone for doing it because you could find yourself in a lot of trouble if you do. Slander is spoken defamation of someone else’s character and can be hard to prove in a court of law.

How the Michigan Private Investigators at Eye Spy Detective Agency can help:

Gathering Evidence

The first step in suing someone for slander is to gather evidence that proves they are guilty of it. When you are in the court room you will have to prove that the person you are suing directed their slanderous statements towards you. It is also necessary to prove that their slanderous words about you are all lies.

You will also have to prove that the person did harm to you by damaging your reputation. Can you prove that the person made these slanderous statements in front of other people? You must provide, in court, copies of the slanderous statements that the other person made against you.

Documentation of the way in which your life has been negatively affected is also required. If the slanderous statements have harmed your business you must have proof of that as well. Acquiring written statements from witnesses who were present when the slanderous activity took place is also necessary.

The Michigan Private Investigators at Eye Spy Detective Agency can help you gather this evidence. We can even go undercover and get someone to spill the beans about your situation.

Slander is a verbal false statement that harms a person’s or business’ reputation. The law does not treat slander differently for small businesses. Whether a person slanders a business or a business slanders a person, it is a tort that gives rise to a civil action for which the victim can sue.

Slander is the same thing whether committed in a business or personal context, and it is illegal if damaging. As a small-business owner, you must understand slander to ensure you and your employees don’t commit it and to recognize when somebody slanders your business.

Burden of Proof

Slander is not protected under the First Amendment’s freedom of speech provisions, but the burden of proof falls on the victim to show her business was slandered. For example, if a person genuinely has a bad experience with your company and urges her friends not to solicit your business, this is not slander; it’s an honest reflection of her experience with your company. If a competitor poses as a customer and tells people lies about your business with the intent to steal customers away from your business, this is slander, but you must be able to prove the intent to harm to have cause for legal action. This is not always easy, because the offense was oral.

Legal Action

Slander is a civil offense, and legal action against slander is taken via a lawsuit in civil court. If the victim successfully proves the act was committed against his business, awarded damages might include monetary compensation as determined by the court to pay for the damages the slander caused, as well as damages based on the extent of the malicious person.

When someone tells lies – either verbally or in print – about you that aren’t true and damage your business, you may wonder if you have a lawsuit against that person for defamation. Defamation is a false statement communicated to someone else with the result to damage your reputation or good name. Defamation through writing is called “libel”; spoken defamation is called “slander.”

To win damages against someone who has libeled you, you must prove the written statement was:

*False
*Harmed your reputation, and thereby your business
*Published to at least one other person
*About you specifically
*Made with some degree of fault and intention

For most people, being described as “ugly” may be offensive or insulting, but it doesn’t damage your reputation. However, if you’re a supermodel who makes her living based on her looks, being described as “ugly” by the head of a modeling agency could be defamatory, because it could hurt you financially.

Who’s Fault Is It?

Different standards of fault apply, depending on who you are. If you’re a public official or figure, such as a politician, celebrity or some other well-known person, you have to prove you were defamed with “actual malice.” You have to show that the person defaming you knew the statement was false and would harm your reputation, or they recklessly disregarded these concerns.

If you’re not a public figure, you only have to prove that the person defaming you was negligent. That is, you have to show they were careless considering the circumstances.

You don’t have to prove actual harm to your reputation to collect damages for slander if someone says something untrue about you that:

Affects your business, trade or profession
Implies you committed a crime
Leads to the conclusion that you have a loathsome disease
Suggests that you are sexually impure
Otherwise, you’ll have to prove you’ve actually been damaged in order to collect for slanderous behavior.
Defamation is the general category under which slander falls, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. Libel is another form of defamation that occurs when a statement is written rather than uttered orally. Victims of slander are sometimes also victims of libel and typically sue under the general claim of defamation. Individuals suing for libel do not have to prove damages, but when individuals sue for slander, they must prove damages.

Slander and Business

When someone slanders a business, the business does not need to demonstrate actual harm, such as the loss of business. It is presumed that false negative statements are harmful to businesses. The business can file a civil action in their local state court requesting damages and attorney’s fees. If the slander is ongoing — such as if a person is continually saying negative, untrue things about the business — the business may also request injunctive relief or a restraining order that prohibits the person from continuing the defamation.

Businesses Committing Slander

When a business commits slander against an individual, the person must prove that they were harmed by the action. Calling a person stupid might hurt his feelings, but it is only slander if the person can prove that it harmed his reputation or his business in some way. Individuals suing businesses for slander are eligible for the same relief as businesses, including attorney’s fees, damages, injunctive relief and restraining orders.

A lawsuit like this can be difficult to win because, unlike libel, there is often not a record that the statement was made. If you have witnesses or recordings of the defamation, submit this into evidence. Business owners should note that suing over slander is not always the best course of action, because lawsuits are public records. You may actually draw attention to the negative statements about your business, and when the statement is made only once, drawing attention to it may be more harmful than simply ignoring it. In some cases, customers may react negatively to a slander suit because they feel that it infringes on people’s freedom of speech.

Call Eye Spy today at 888-393-7799, or visit us at www.EyeSpyInvestigations.com

 

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