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What counts as defamation?

by | Jun 11, 2021 | Defamation

It is relatively easy for someone to defame another individual in Texas depending on what has transpired. Details matter significantly in any libel or slander case. Both are defamation, with libel occurring through written publication and slander referring directly to spoken comments. Different rules also apply based on the personal status of the victim; private individuals and public figures are held to a different malice requirement.

Proving defamation

Just as in any other personal injury case, it is incumbent on the plaintiff’s representative to prove that the incident occurred and that their client’s reputation was injured on some level. It is only necessary for a single third party to hear or read the statement for injury to occur. When public figures sue for defamation, they must also include proof of actual malice, which includes reputation damage.

Private person vs. public figure defamation

Public figures are held to a heavier burden for proving defamation than a private person. When this is put in a social media context or private interaction situation such as a job reference, it is relatively easy to slander or libel a private individual. An employment denial based on the comments could suffice as actual malice. Third-party access to reading any comments on social media is also an equivalent of entertainment and media law violation. The mere transference of the defaming information to one individual establishes malice because the posts are also publications.

Never let another individual damage your reputation without taking action. Any Texas resident who thinks they may have been legally defamed should contact an experienced entertainment and media attorney as soon as possible because the spoken and written word can spread quickly.



Gavel and Defamation Law Book on Table with Glasses