Defamation is a statement that injures a third party’s reputation. Defamation has two parts; libel (written statements) and slander (spoken statements).
The law in every state in the US varies in its standards for defamation and potential damages. There are many grey areas in the law such as the lines between stating an opinion versus a fact. Defamation lawsuits can run afoul of the constitutionally protected first amendment freedoms of speech and press.
To prove defamation, you as a plaintiff must provide four things:
- A false statement purporting to be a fact
- Publication or communication of that statement to a third person
- Fault amounting to at least negligence
- Damages, or harm caused to the reputation of the person or entity who is the subject of the statement.