Reputation is like fine china.
These days, it’s far too easy for someone else to injure your good name. Angry former employers may make untrue statements on a job reference. Coworkers can spread rumors that impact your ability to be promoted. And nearly anyone can can post false statements on social media – quickly reaching a broad audience. That’s why we work to defend and protect your reputation – vigorously and quickly, before things get out of hand. We can also help if you’ve been accused of defamation yourself.
How we can help
Defamation Analysis. First and foremost, we have to determine whether the negative statements were unlawful. Not every negative statement counts as defamation, slander or libel under the law. To be legally actionable, the statement must be:
Factual — i.e., an allegation of facts, not just an expression of opinion. For example: “John was fired because he embezzled company funds” is a factual statement. It can be proven or disproven with facts. “John was annoying during company meetings” is a statement of opinion. It can’t be disproven with facts, because it’s merely an expression of one feelings. Statements of fact are actionable. Statements of opinion are not.
False — you must be able to show that the statement was not true.
Published — the statement about you must have been made to, or in the presence of, a third party. If someone falsely accuses you of wrongdoing to your face, with no other witnesses present, there’s no defamation, because the statement wasn’t made to any third parties. Similarly, intra-company statements (for instance, a statement made by your boss to H.R. in the context of a company investigation) are often held not to be made to a third party. When the boss and the H.R. representative are both acting in their official capacities, courts sometimes view this as the company making a statement to itself – i.e., there is no third-party publication, and no defamation.
Quick Action. If you’ve discovered that someone is making defamatory statements about you, our first step is usually to send a “Cease & Desist” letter. We warn the offender to stop making the statements, or face the consequences. In some cases, this simple step is enough to stop the offending conduct. If not, you may have to consider further legal action.
Restraining Orders. When time is of the essence, or when the “Cease & Desist” letter doesn’t work, a court restraining order may be called for. To obtain a temporary restraining order, we must convince the judge that you will suffer immediate irreparable harm unless the order is issued. If the judge is convinced that a restraining order is necessary, he or she may issue the order immediately. These orders are intended to be stop-gap measures, and only last until the court holds a full hearing on whether or not to grant a full, long-term prohibition against the offender. We are experienced with these legal procedures, and can help you use them to protect yourself.
Lawsuits. Sometimes, these types of disputes develop into full-blown litigation. If you’ve been accused of defamation, we can defend you in court. If someone is tarnishing your good name and you need it to stop, we can help. We are experienced litigators, and if your disagreement can’t be resolved outside of the courtroom, we’ll vigorously pursue your position in court.