Part of the dynamic I believe as an attorney who specializes in online and internet defamation of character, as well as doctor defamation is that in many instances it’s a blame the messenger situation. Where the physician is generating bills which are sometimes very onerous on patients who can’t pay them. That doctors are the ones who are providing their patients with bad news sometimes about their health condition. That not every patient can be cured, and therefore the blame the doctor phenomena will spit out this anger that is sometimes expressed on the internet. So doctors are sometimes subject to unfair and unwarranted commentary by their patients; and in some instances by other doctors who are posing as patients. Sometimes that commentary will involve false statements of fact about the doctor, which can meet the test of defamation of character under state law.
Posts Tagged ‘defamation of character’
One of the things that a client needs to understand when they believe they have been the victim of defamation of character on the Internet is that they are putting their own character directly at issue. People with strong, positive reputations are potential plaintiffs. Clients who have a poor reputation within their community have a much more difficult decision to make. Suing for defamation of character, especially when it is on the Internet, is always a difficult decision. Clients need to understand the challenges involved. They also need to be fully apprised by their attorney about the fact that they will be opening themselves up to discovery about character issues. Continue reading In Order to Sue for Defamation of Character, You Have to Have Character »
Our clients often ask “Should I Sue For Defamation of Character” when they discover a post, comment, blog or other publication on the Internet which falsely harms their reputation. Defamation if character on the Internet can cause serious damage and emotions often run high when you are falsely accused or attacked. But the question of “Should I Sue for Defamation” is one you need to consider carefully with your attorney. A defamation lawsuit is expensive and there are sometimes strategies which can remove the defamatory statement posted o the Internet without resorting to a lawsuit. Contact one of our defamation law attorneys for more information about your options and how we can help. The first step is to get educated about your legal rights and options. Then you can decide how to proceed.
Internet defamation is as easy to inflict as hitting the ‘submit’ key. I am an internet law attorney who sees on-line defamation of character every day. The consequences to the person defamed can be devastating on the one end or a nuisance on the other. There is no -on-line media as easy, fast and thoughtless to post to as Twitter.com, making defamation on Twitter a big problem for lawyers and clients alike. Recall Courtney Love recently had to pay $430,000 in libel damages for Twitter defamation settlement with a fashion designer who claimed Courtney defamed her on twitter.com for the tweets “asswipe nasty lying hosebag thief” and a “coke whore.”
No comes the latest claim of defamation on twitter. NBA referee Bill Spooner just filed a federal defamation and libel lawsuit (click link to see the Federal Court Complaint) against Minneapolis-based sportswriter Jon Krawczynski and the Associated Press alleging he was defamed on Twitter during a a game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Houston Rockets. The alleged defamatory tweet by Krawczynski states: “Ref Bill Spooner told Rambis he’d “get it back” after a bad call. Then he made an even worse call on Rockets. That’s NBA officiating folks.” Spooner says that the statement quoted in the tweet was a request made by the coach to ‘get it [the foul call] back,’ not promise by Spooner to do so.
Internet Defamation of Character Primer: What is a defamatory statement?
An anonymous comment was posted about your company on a review web site stating that your company cheated them out of money, that the people at your company are crooks and that customers should avoid doing business with your company at all cost. The web site where the statement was posted is coming back as the third Google search result just below your web site and domain name. Your first impulse is that the statement is defamation. Your second is to contact an attorney to send a threat letter to the web site owner demanding that comment removed.
The First Question: In order for a statement to be defamatory under law, the statement posted on the internet must be a false statement of fact, rather than a statement of opinion. Clients are often confused about what is a fact versus an opinion. Surprisingly, so are courts, judges and many lawyers who do not practice defamation law. The reality is that defamation can law can be hard to decipher on this critical issue of “what is a false statement of fact” as the first element of proving defamation on the internet. Continue reading Defamation is Defined as a False Statement of Fact. »
Internet Defamation is a blog post, comment, web site, Facebook post or comment, Twitter tweet or other on-line false statement of fact and that reflects negatively on your reputation. Because internet defamation is by definition written rather than oral, it is technically internet libel. Slander involves oral false statements of fact.
Defamation per se involves false statements of fact which presumes damages. That is, no damages must be proven as an element of the defamation, libel or slander claim. Defamation per se occurs in most states when the false internet post, tweet, review or comment (i) accuses someone of a crime; (ii) alleges that someone has a disease; (iii) suggests that a person or business is unfit to conduct their business or trade; or (iv) imputes sexual misconduct.
Internet law involves the attempt to apply traditional legal principles – such as the law of defamation – when the conduct complained of occurs on the internet. Courts have struggled to apply defamation law in the context of the internet for obvious reasons. Before the world wide web, few people wielded the power of the pen. Now, everyone has a global audience and can express themselves as easily is key-stroking a blog post, blog comment, bulletin board post, Facebook post or comment, Twitter tweet, web site comment or customer review.
An attorney handling an internet defamation case has much bigger challenges than when defamation occurs off-line. Sometimes identifying a web site owner or other anonymous author of defamatory content can be difficult. There are dozens of different and specific strategies for dealing with defamatory statements on the internet. Many strategies require expertise in back-end DNS, domain registrars, domain registrant search, proxy services, Section 230 Immunity under the Communications Decency Act, User Generated Content, IP tracking, ISP subpoenas and related issues. Sometimes, defamation occurs on familiar sites such as www.ComplaintsBoard.com or www.RipOffReport.com which were designed to promote and drive advertising revenue from online libel. Sometimes, it is an competitor disguised as one of your customers who is posting false information. Understanding how to deal with these types of web sites is critical.
You should speak with an attorney who specializes in internet defamation to learn more about your options, the cost of each option and potential return on investment if you should be able to remove the libelous statements. Every situation is different. Not every fight is worth it. If you are losing business or your reputation has been attacked, sometimes you have no choice but to fight. Chances are, we can help.
After originally being dismissed by the lower court, a state Court of Appeal has recently reinstated a California Attorney’s suit against screenwriter Justin Swingle.
Attorney Richard Gibson’s suit alleges that Swingle’s comments accused the attorney of breaking the law, violating attorney ethics rules, being mentally ill, and bigotry.
Originally Swingle’s comments on the attorney’s Craigslist add were posted anonymously. However, Gibson was granted a subpoena which required Craigslist to identify the author of the posts and from there was able to name Swingle as defendant in his complaint.
The Los Angeles Daily Times reports that the Court of Appeals held that Swingle’s posts on Gibson’s Craigslist add “were not part of political speech nor speech on a matter of public interest.”
If you are faced with a potential defamation suit or if you are trying to get content that may classify as defamation removed from an online source, you should contact an internet attorney today.
For related information on internet defamation in the media;