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What is Slander in California?

Statements that are made about you can have a major impact on your reputation. If those statements are true, then you will likely have to live with the consequences of the statements. However, if the statements are false, you may have the right to file a civil lawsuit against those who tarnished your reputation by spreading untruths.  The laws related to defamation provide a remedy for those who are victimized by rumors and lies. What is Slander in California?

There are different types of defamation. Libel, for example, refers to defamation when false statements are made in print. Slander in California, on the other hand, is a type of defamation that occurs when false statements are made orally.  Slander can occur when a TV station runs a news story and the anchor makes a false statement about you on TV. Slander can also occur when a radio personality or other person publishes or makes untrue spoken statements that harm your reputation.

Victims who are harmed by slander can file a civil lawsuit. However, cases based on slander- like all defamation cases- can be difficult to prove. You need a top notch lawyer to make a successful claim to recover damages for slander in California. The Irvine defamation lawyers at Brown & Charbonneau, LLP can provide you with legal representation to help you fight for the money you need and deserve when your reputation is damaged.

What is Slander in California?

Slander in California is specifically defined to include:

  • A statement that is untrue.
  • A statement that is made orally.
  • A statement that is not privileged.
  • A statement that causes injury or harm.

If you are a private person and/or the slander is about a private matter that is not a public concern, you should be able to make a successful slander claim when you prove these four elements of a slander claim.  For example, if a TV news anchor runs a story and calls you a sex offender or a dishonest cheating businessmen when you are not either of these things, these would be examples of slander.

However, if you are a public figure, you also must prove that the slander involves actual malice. Actual malice means that the false statements were made with reckless disregard for the truth of the statements or with knowledge of the untruth. There are stricter rules for celebrities and public figures and for matters of public interest because it is very important for the public to be able to exercise their first amendment rights to criticize government officials and other public figures.

One of the most difficult parts of making a claim for slander in California is to prove that actual damages occurred due to the loss of your reputation.  Truth is also an absolute defense to slander, so you will have to be able to convince the court the statements were false in order to recover damages.

Brown & Charbonneau, LLP has experience representing victims of slander. Give us a call for help fighting for damages when your reputation was harmed.