Do You Have a Case for Defamation of Character? How Should You Proceed?

List: Posted: 09/19/11

Hearing someone say bad things about you is never a pleasant experience.  However, when those statements actually cause serious harm to your personal or professional reputation, things can get really serious.  In fact, you might have a defamation of character lawsuit on your hands.  What constitutes defamation of character, though?


In legal circles, defamation of character can actually be a number of things.  For instance, slander and libel both fall under this heading.  Slander is spoken defamation, while libel is written defamation.  However, the statements need to be more than just "bad" to make you eligible for a defamation of character suit.  They must expose you to public "contempt, hatred or ridicule." 


The statements must also be false.  If they are true, then no matter how ugly, unprofessional or personal, it does not count as defamation of character.


If these statements cause harm to your reputation and your personal life, then you can talk to your lawyer and file a defamation of character suit.  In addition, if they cause harm to your occupation (you lose a job, are skipped over for promotion, etc.), you can also bring a lawsuit against the person issuing the statements.


In order for a defamation of character suit to proceed, you need to have proof that the statements were said or written by that person, and concrete proof that they are untrue.  You also need to be able to prove that they harmed your reputation or occupation. 


If no harm was caused other than your own hurt feelings, then there is no suit.


Speaking with an attorney experienced with defamation of character cases is the best way to determine if you actually have a case.

Attorneys & Lawyers: General Practice

    Raymond A. Ceresa formed the Ceresa Law Firm in 1997 to specialize in the representation of condominium and homeowners associations in Northern Virginia. Having spent over a decade at a large law firm, Mr. Ceresa started his own firm so that he could provide better and more individualized service to his community association clients than he could at a large firm. The Ceresa Law Firm provides large firm experience, with more personal service and the more reasonable billing rates of a small firm. We pride ourselves on offering exceptional customer service and promptly responding to our clients’ needs. Our firm has significant experience representing condominium and homeowners associations with covenant and architectural violations, interpretation and revision of governing documents, board of directors issues, warranty claim negotiation and litigation, assessment collection and anything in between.

    • 20605 Gordon Park Sq Suite 170 Ste 170
    • Ashburn, VA 20147
    • (703) 726-9500
    • 43830 Devin Shafron Dr
    • Ashburn, VA 20147
    • (703) 723-6240
    • Ashburn, VA 20147
    • (703) 723-4442
    • 20860 Isherwood Ter
    • Ashburn, VA 20147
    • (703) 723-1345

    The material in this article is for informational purposes only. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of See Additional Information

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