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Do I Need a Lawyer to Sue for Defamation in New York State?

By John DiGiacomo

If you are a natural person, then, technically, the answer is “no.” That is, for natural persons, there is no legal requirement that a person retains an experienced defamation attorney to sue for defamation in the State of New York. However, corporate entities MUST use attorneys to prosecute and defend litigation. So, if your business wants to sue for defamation in New York State, the answer is “yes.” Legally, a company must hire a lawyer to file a defamation lawsuit.

Having said that, even a natural person SHOULD hire an experienced defamation lawyer to sue for defamation in New York State. Litigation in general is complicated and defamation cases are even more so. Defamation cases are quick or easy and New York State judges will expect self-represented litigants to abide by and obey ALL of the legal rules with respect to procedure and evidence. If you are searching for “the best defamation law firm” to sue for defamation in New York State, call us here at Revision Legal at 231-714-0100 or 855-473-8474. We know how to prosecute and handle defamation cases. Here are just a couple of examples of why defamation cases are too complicated to handle without legal representation.

At the beginning of a defamation case, the plaintiff — the person who has been damaged by the defamation — must file a written document called a Complaint. The Complaint must state in concise sentences and paragraphs all the legal elements necessary to prove a claim of defamation under New York State law. Generally, these are:

  • A false statement by the target of the litigation — called the “defendant”
  • Published to third parties
  • Made with intent, knowledge of the falsity of the statement, or with negligence of the truth or falsity of the statement
  • Injury or damage to the plaintiff
  • The injury/damage was caused by the false statement

After a complaint is filed, it is legally required that the complaint be delivered to the defendant. But, if the defamation was online defamation or social media defamation, you may have to file the case without knowing immediately exactly who committed the defamation. That is, often, online defamation is anonymous. That is a problem for suing for defamation in New York State. However, experienced defamation lawyers know how to file a case against an anonymous person and, then, how to use the legal rules to identify the defendant in the real world. This may involve sending legally binding requests to internet service providers and website owners demanding identifying information concerning online user accounts.

As another example, often, the attorneys representing the defendant will file a Motion to Dismiss arguing that the Complaint did not set out facts sufficient to satisfy the legal rules with respect to pleading defamation. You need experienced and courtroom-proven defamation attorneys to successfully defeat something like a Motion To Dismiss.

Many more examples could be provided, but these two are sufficient to make the point. Practically speaking, you need a lawyer to sue for defamation in New York State.

Contact the Defamation Attorneys at Revision Legal For more information, contact the experienced Defamation Lawyers at Revision Legal. You can contact us through the form on this page or call (855) 473-8474.

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