Slander, Libel, Defamation, and Harmful Cyber-Actions
A business’s reputation is by far one of its most important assets. As a result, any false, misleading, or defamatory content regarding the business can cause irreparable harm. Florida has statutes in place, though that protect a business from such defamatory claims. In Florida, anyone guilty of publishing or distributing libel will face a first degree misdemeanor. However, if the court finds that the material was published in good faith, the criminal proceeding charging libel may be discontinued. This outcome may only occur if:
- the libel published was due to an honest mistake of the facts;
- there were reasonable grounds for believing that the statements were true; and
- a full and fair correction, apology, and retraction was published in the same editions or corresponding issues of the newspaper or periodical in which the libel appeared and in as conspicuous place and type as was the original article.
Note that the above correction, apology, or retraction must be made within the following time period in order to be accepted by the court:
- broadcasts or daily or weekly newspapers – within 10 days after service of notice;
- newspapers or periodicals published semimonthly – within 20 days after service of notice;
- newspapers or periodicals published monthly – within 45 days after service of notice; and
- newspapers or periodicals published less frequently than monthly – in the next issue, provided that notice is served no later than 45 days prior to publication.
To succeed in a defamation claim, the suing party must be able to show that:
- someone made a statement;
- the statement was distributed, either orally or in written form;
- the statement caused injury (e.g., lost a job);
- the statement was false;
- the statement was not protected (not made at trial or during a deposition).
A successful case can allow the plaintiff to recoup damages related to their actual monetary losses. It is also possible to win damages for mental anguish and emotional distress caused by the defamation. Keep in mind that Florida law requires an individual to file their claim within 2 years from the date the defamatory statement was first made.
Contact Julianne Frank, Esq. for Legal Counsel
If you are facing business or commercial litigation disputes, whether that be a breach of contract or damaging statements against your business, a knowledgeable business litigation attorney can help. Julianne Frank, Esq. can examine the facts of your business or commercial situation to resolve your dispute efficiently. She can also help you draft your business contracts to insulate you from any such litigation disputes in the future.