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cyber smearing

I Have Been Cyber-Smeared: Is It Worth Suing for Defamation?

By John DiGiacomo

In many cases, yes, it IS worth suing for defamation. This is very true if the defamation has caused significant monetary losses. Online defamation — often called cyber-smearing — is particularly pernicious and can significantly undercut a person’s or a company’s ability to attract customers and business opportunities. If you have been cyber-smeared or otherwise defamed, call the experienced defamation attorneys at Revision Legal. Call us at 231-714-0100 or 855-473-8474 today for a consultation.

Suing for defamation is also worth pursuing for personal and emotional reasons. The defamation cases against Alex Jones and his website are good examples. From media reports, the plaintiffs did not necessarily suffer lost business and financial opportunities but suffered tremendous emotional distress from the false statements. When defamation is done maliciously, actual damages can be recovered along with very high punitive damages. Actual damages can be recovered in defamation litigation to compensate victims for their emotional injuries and lost financial opportunities. These are often separated into two categories: general and specific damages. See below. But punitive damages can also be recovered to punish the person making the false statements and to deter others from engaging in the same odious behavior. Vindicating your personal and business reputation is worth the emotional and financial costs of suing for defamation.

In summary, there are three categories of damages that potentially can be recovered in a successful defamation case. These are:

  • General damages — examples include damages for loss of reputation, emotional distress, anxiety, shame, etc.
  • Special (or specifically identifiable and calculable) damages — examples include damage to property, one’s profession, and lost financial opportunities; for a business, these damages would include lost profits, interference with contractual relationships and business opportunities, etc.
  • Punitive damages

To win, several key legal elements must be proven. Generally, these are:

  • A person or business has made a false statement — the statement must be of a factual nature, not an opinion
  • The false statement was published — in writing, via video or in person
  • With regard to the truth of the statement, the statement was made with negligently, recklessly, or intentionally
  • The “target” of the false statement — a person or business — suffered damage to reputation or other
  • The damage/injury was caused by the false statement

There are certain types of defamation where the element of causation does not have to be proved. These are called defamation per se cases. The law presumes that the false statements are so outrageous and disgusting that damage to the individual or business is self-evident. Generally, these per se defamatory statements include falsely accusing someone or a business of:

  • Being a criminal or committing a crime
  • Being diseased
  • Being impotent or unchaste
  • Going out of business, into bankruptcy or otherwise being unfit as a business partner

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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