What is Actual Malice in San Diego and Los Angeles Libel Cases?

When privileges against defamation, e.g., the Privilege for Communication to Interested Persons, are in play, or where a private plaintiff seeks to win punitive damages, the plaintiff must show actual malice motivating the defendant. To do so, a libel or slander plaintiff in California must plead and prove the defendant either 1) knowingly and intentionally defamed him or her, or …

“Mutual Interest” Privilege Against Libel and Slander

What Is the “Mutual Interest” Privilege Against Libel and Slander In San Diego and Mission Viejo, California? California law provides a conditional privilege (not absolute) protecting defendants against claims for libel and slander. It arises from communications without malice by one person to another where both have interest in the matter. If a defendant knows false information he or she …

In San Diego and L.A. When is a Person a Limited Public Figure?

When is a Person a Limited Public Figure in Libel and Slander Cases in San Diego and Los Angeles? The determination of public figure status in California defamation cases is complex. There are multiple differing tests guiding courts all over the country. While each court’s decision on public figure stature requires a case-by-case analysis done by the judge in each …

Important Decision on “Public Figure” Status in Prominent Libel Case

In May 2014, a federal court ruled in a network libel case an international sporting goods supplier is not a public figure — or a limited-purpose public figure. In Mitre Sports International Limited vs. Home Box Office, Inc., the court pronounced Mitre not a public figure for libel purposes. The ruling means the case is proceeding in a way favorable …

What is Slander?

Slander is the oral form of defamation. If someone speaks a false and “unprivileged” defamatory statement — at a meeting, over the TV or radio,in some other form of broadcast, or in a social group setting — the legal term for it is “slander”. Slander occurs when a defamatory statement is made where more than just one person speaks and …

What is Libel in California?

Libel is a false and “unprivileged” statement about another person or company in writing. It might be posted on the Internet (including blogs and online reviews), presented in an article or commentary or a magazine or book.  Libel must contain a provably false statement, which is not written under legal protection (such as in a court document), that causes damage …

What is Defamation in California?

Defamation is a factually false statement about a person or company that is “unprivileged” (which legally means not protected by free speech rules from a claim for defamation).  To be defamatory, the statement(s) must damage their target’s character, profession, or standing in the community.  You cannot state that someone has done something illegal, or attack their chastity or conduct, if …

Can I Get a Libel or Slander Case Dismissed on the basis of “Innocent Meaning?”

In the past month, two prospective clients asked me whether, in California defamation cases, the defense of innocence will defeat a libel claim. In the late 1950s, this defense was reviewed and rejected by the California Supreme Court. Using reasoning still current today, the high court said the defendant is liable for what is insinuated, and what is explicitly stated. “The fact that …

How can I Defend Myself Against an Accusation of Defamation in San Diego?

If some accuses you of defamation, you are facing substantial financial consequences. Mount a professional and thorough defense. The vast majority of attorneys would not feel competent defending themselves in a defamation suit, so defamation law is not something you should handle on your own. It involves complex areas of law, and as an experienced attorney and litigator I can help you quickly …