Grounds for Defamation Lawsuit: A Comprehensive Guide


Mullen Law Firm discusses the grounds for defamation lawsuit and other details you need to know before filing a defamation case. Learn more!

Defamatory Statements

According to New York defamation law, defamation is a statement that injures a third party’s reputation. The defamation tort includes libel (written statements) and slander (spoken defamation). If someone has made a false and defamatory statement hurting your reputation, you may be eligible to seek compensation. To do so, you must understand the different avenues to seek legal recourse.

This guide from Mullen Law Firm will provide an overview of the grounds for a defamation lawsuit and discuss the steps to take if you believe you’ve been defamed. Defamation cases can be complex, so it is essential to understand the nuances of judicial proceedings before deciding on the best course of action.


What Is a Defamation Lawsuit?

Defamation generally occurs when an inaccurate, false, or defamatory statement has been made or published about a plaintiff to a third party intentionally or with reckless disregard.

In New York, if a statement has exposed another individual or business to hatred, contempt, or aversion, inducing an evil or unsavory opinion in other people’s minds while causing particular harm constitutes defamation.

It’s safe to say that pursuing a defamation suit against someone can be difficult, but it is not impossible. To prove defamation, you must determine that the statement can easily be described as false, published, harmful, or unprivileged. It’s imperative to show that you have been the victim of inevitable negative defamation consequences, such as decreased income, loss of money, or tarnished reputation.

Defamation lawsuits greatly damage a person’s reputation, particularly if they lose. An experienced libel attorney can assist you with your defamation lawsuit and fight aggressively on your behalf.

Lawsuit for Defamation

You have legal options if you have been slandered, shamed, or held in contempt by someone through defamatory statements, lost your reputation, and suffered negative financial consequences. While defamation lawsuits may seem overwhelming and time-consuming, a vital step is to seek help from a defamation lawyer to navigate your case.

Under New York defamation law, a balance must be met between one individual’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech and another individual’s right to ensure their good name and reputation. Sometimes, a person may not know what speech violates New York defamation laws or what type of speech is permissible under the law.

Defamation is a civil matter in New York. If you suffer emotional or financial damages due to someone else’s false statement, you can sue the offender and bring your defamation claim to the appropriate court. So, defamation of character is not a criminal offense but a tort or civil wrong.

Grounds for a Defamation Lawsuit

To seek compensation for your damage and injury, the defamatory statement must have been made to a third party.

Whether the defamation has been in the form of a verbal statement or declarations published in social media postings, online articles, blogs, or newspapers, there are some grounds for a defamation lawsuit:

  • The statement should be made

  • The information must be defamatory

  • The statement must refer to the plaintiff

  • The statement must be false

  • The statement must be published

  • The statement must have caused injury

  • The wrongdoer has been aware of a third party hearing the false information while believing it to be true

  • The defamatory information should be factual according to the third party

Unfortunately, internet defamation may present challenging concerns due to the ease of online materials and how most postings can be made anonymously. Such cases face further complications because website owners cannot be held responsible for online materials others post on their sites. If you’re running a business and are accused of defamation, you may want to check whether your insurance covers the advertising injury.

Public figures have a tough time winning defamation cases than private individuals. But a skilled defamation lawyer will combat defamation allegations to protect your reputation either way.

Cost of Defamation Lawsuit

Understanding that every defamation case is unique is essential, so there is no one-size-fits-all answer for calculating your case’s costs. Several factors may impact the potential costs of your defamation lawsuit, such as:

  • Whether the defendant’s identity is known or unknown

  • If you are looking for monetary relief

  • Fees for a local lawyer

  • Type of attorney fee structure

  • If the defendant contests the case

  • If a court order removes the content in question

  • Amount of defamatory content online

If you were the victim of false statements and want to prove actual malice, get in touch with our attorneys at the Mullen Law Firm. We are well-versed in defamation cases and can provide expert legal advice. Contact us today to discuss your options. With proper guidance and legal representation, you may be able to seek justice for the defamation against you.

Filing a Defamation Lawsuit

If a false statement violated defamation laws, you may be eligible to seek compensation for defamation of character. Although most people believe the First Amendment (right to free speech) protects them, some aspects of defamation injure public and private figures. Depending on the levels of financial injury you prove, you can seek compensation for the following:

  • Special damages for which you need to rely on extrinsic evidence to determine how the statement was considered defamatory – e.g., estimating the numbers of lost customers, itemization of investment costs

  • Actual damages such as lost business, lost income, and expenses while dealing with defamation

  • Punitive damages, which are awarded when the defendant was especially malicious and acted with spite or hatred towards the plaintiff

If you were wronged and think the statement against you is illegal, contact our experienced attorneys at the Mullen Law Firm. We will listen to your case and provide the necessary legal advice. Contact us today for a free consultation!

What to Look Out for When Filing a Suit for a Defamatory Statement

If you want to claim financial harm from a false and defamatory statement, bringing as much documentation as possible, including income tax information, bank statement, or other things that show you have lost money dealing with defamation, is vital. To ensure a solid defamation case, consider the following steps:

  • Check on whether you have valid defamation claims

  • Identify the proper court to file your defamation lawsuit

  • Gather as much evidence as possible of the false statements and content

  • Comply with all the filing requirements and juridical proceedings

  • Consider alternative tactics if necessary

  • File and serve the legal complaint on the defendant

It might take a while before your defamation cases reach the trial stage. In the meantime, our defamation lawyers will start the settlement negotiations while the litigation plays out. Most defamation cases get in settlements, but we will take your case to trial if you consider it far apart to agree on a payment.

Dependable and Compassionate Defamation Lawyer

If someone publishes false or defamatory statements about you or your business, the consequences may be severe and permanently affect your reputation. Don’t go through this all by yourself.

At the Mullen Law Firm, our New York defamation attorney will represent you if you have been defamed, whether you are the victim of verbal or written defamation. Our attorneys can fight on your behalf to help identify those responsible for the defamatory statements.

Our law firm is dedicated to combating defamation. From filing the complaint to representing you in court, our attorneys will offer personalized service throughout the whole process while tirelessly fighting for your rights.

If you want to explore your legal options, contact the legal team of Mullen Law Firm today for a free consultation.

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