If your reputation has been negatively impacted by someone’s lies, e.g. you lost your job, you lost business, etc., then you are entitled to compensation for your losses.
You only have a short period of time to bring a claim.
Take action before you no longer can!
A claim for defamation in Texas requires proof that:
WRITTEN v. ORAL
A false statement of fact may form the basis of an action for defamation. One might consider a statement about them, that is false, so utterly disgusting that it must be defamatory. They may be right. But they may be wrong. How about add that they were horrifically embarrassed by it. In fact, they felts so badly about themself that they couldn’t force themself out their front door for a month. Well, it really doesn’t matter.
Whether words constitute defamation is determined on an objective basis, not a subjective basis. It can only be defamatory if a person of ordinary intelligence would interpret it in a way that tends to injure the person’s reputation and thereby expose them to public hatred, contempt, or ridicule, or financial injury, or to impeach their honesty, integrity, virtue, or reputation.
It is worth noting too that opinions can never constitute defamation. They are not statements of fact.
In Texas, as in other jurisdictions, the degree of fault a defamation claimant must prove depends on their status as a public figure or private person.
In Texas, a person who is a “public” figure or official must prove that a defamatory statement is made with “actual malice”. Made with actual malice means made knowing it is false or with reckless disregard as to its truth.
Anyone whose name has become a household name is a public figure. Some people are public figures by choice. Elite professional athletes, movie stars, and politicians all choose to seek public attention. Others become public figures when they are involuntarily placed into the spotlight. A victim of a crime might find themself in the public eye, but hardly by choice.
Private individuals that seek publicity for a particular purpose or issue are considered “limited” public figures. As to this group of individuals, the requirement of actual malice applies only to statements made regarding that purpose or issue for which they are publicly involved. For statements about any other matter, these individuals are still considered private individuals.
Those who are not in the public eye at all are “private” individuals for purposes of defamation claims. Private figures do not need to prove that defamatory statements are made with actual malice. Instead, it is sufficient that they show mere negligence in making the false statements. Negligence in this context means a failure to exercise reasonable care in determining whether facts they state are trued or not.
An old idiom advises, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” In furtherance of this rule, a modern day attorney might advise, “but if you absolutely must say something that isn’t nice, check first to make sure it’s true!”
A claimant’s burden of proving damages depends on the content of what is published, orally or in writing, about them.
Texas law takes the position that certain false statements are defamatory “per se”. They are so likely to damage a person’s reputation that they are assumed defamatory. A claimant need not prove that the statement caused them injury.
Statements that constitute defamation per se are defined in Texas to include those that :
: the act of communicating false statements about a person that injure the reputation of that person