The First Amendment exists to protect our right to freedom of speech, but when someone makes a statement that negatively impacts another person or business, it has the potential to carry with it legal consequences. Libel lawyers in San Diego know that a written statement must be a false statement of fact, and at least negligently made actually be considered libel. There are many different situations where this accusation is appropriate, but often times the defamatory statement is protected speech.
A business owner, for example, may not like the negative review you wrote about your experience and think it constitutes libel. Whether you ordered products, ate at a restaurant, or hired a contractor, it’s possible you weren’t happy about an aspect of the service, and want to share your opinion with the online community. While a negative review in itself isn’t libel, review websites like Yelp have become so popular they have huge potential to impact a consumer’s spending habits. Because of this influence, business owners carefully scrutinizing their business’s reviews and sometimes even pursue legal action against reviewers. If you’re being sued for a defamatory statement you made, it’s important to consult a skilled libel lawyer who can review all the possible defenses for your situation.
The ultimate defense to a libel accusation is truth. Defamatory written statements are not considered libel if they are factual. Truth is an absolute defense to libel, and this is also why statements of opinion cannot be considered libel. But what about a statement that blurs the boundaries between fact and opinion? For example, mentioning to a coworker that you think someone is stealing from the company because they were acting suspiciously. Is “acting suspiciously” a statement of fact or opinion? Courts often rule that opinions that imply factual information are actually statements of fact. These are the kinds of situations that require a skilled libel lawyer in San Diego who can defend your rights through litigation or mediation. If you’ve been accused of libel in San Diego, contact The Law Office of Ryan T. Darby today to discuss your situation.
Can you be sued for something negative that you post online? As social networking and other online activity become more popular with individuals and business, online interactions comprise a large portion of our social activity. These interactions are expressive conduct subject to free speech laws and protected by the First Amendment, but they are also subject to defamation laws, including libel. From review websites like Yelp to social networking platforms like Facebook and Google+, comments made online have the power to impact others. If you’ve made a comment that has upset an individual or business and they are taking legal action, it’s important to consult a skilled Internet defamation attorney. San Diego based Internet defamation lawyer Ryan T. Darby is experienced in defending those accused of defamation, and particularly libel. He has successfully advocated for protected speech, and can help you assert your First Amendment rights.
You’ve likely heard about businesses suing customers who have left them a negative review on Yelp, a popular online forum for discovering and reviewing local businesses. These stories range from someone describing a negative restaurant experience to complaining about the work quality of a local contractor. Naturally, a negative review will have consequences, sometimes even severely impacting a business’s profitability. If a business thinks these remarks constitute libel, they may pursue legal action, and it’s important to understand your possible defenses should you find yourself in this situation. For example, ‘truth’ is considered an absolute defense to libel. If the written statement was true, it cannot be considered libelous.
Defending against Internet defamation in San Diego or CA requires very specific, focused knowledge and study of this niche area of law. Because the evolution of the Internet and related technology grew faster than the law could reasonably accommodate, new precedents for these lawsuits are continuously being set based on the questions of law raised during individual cases. A question of jurisdiction is found, for example, when a man in New York writes an untrue, negative review on Google of a restaurant where he ate while visiting San Diego the previous week. Can this case reasonably be tried in California, when the review was written while in New York? What about when it is corporately-owned restaurant chain? Could this review be determined to be causing harm in just San Diego, or causing harm to the business’s profitability nationwide? These are the types of questions raised in Internet defamation cases, so it’s important to consult an attorney with experience and knowledge of free speech laws. Defamation defense attorney Ryan T. Darby in San Diego has helped people who find themselves accused of Internet defamation, and can help you navigate the specifics of your case. Contact The Law Office of Ryan T. Darby today for a consultation about your unique situation.