Libel & Reputation

Libel & Reputation

The Law Office of Constance Bessada can also help when your reputation is being attacked online. Because of her own personal experience in having her online reputation attacked, Ms. Bessada has marshaled a number of legal procedures and experts to counter unfounded allegations.

What is the difference between defamation, slander and libel? Simply said, if the action is in writing, then it is  defamation; otherwise, if the action is spoken, then it is slander. But all of it is considered libel.

A case of libel occurs where a person’s reputation is affected negatively by statements made that were either not factual or taken out of context. Note that constitutional free speech protects opinions, so one must be clear on what is just opinion and what are lies being promulgated to harm you. Harm takes the form of a combination of financial distress, reputational damage, mental anguish, or anything else that can be shown quantitatively.

After one has been attacked, generally the steps one needs to take are:

  1. Positively Identify Your Attacker
  2. Determine the Present and Accountable Damage
  3. Stop Malicious Attacks
  4. Bring Your Attacker To Justice
  5. Repair Your Reputation

Most often, damages for plaintiffs are based on lost reputation and mental anguish for which compensation is required. California, among most other states, allow for “per se” defamation. This is where actual damages do not need to be proven and presumed damages are enough to establish a case.

One must be careful that the benefits of a slander, defamation and libel case are not outweighed by its costs, for example, by the increased publicity and exposure caused by the case itself. Still, there are cases that deserve legal attention and have a good stance to stand up in court:  when a person’s professional standing or character is defamed, and when a person is alleged to have committed illegal or immoral acts.

Whether or not the formality of filing a legal case is in the cards, there are still some steps that can be taken to thwart malicious attackers. As more of the attacks are taking place on the Internet which has potentially global exposure, one can work to develop and improves one’s reputation in a positive way as to counteract and thereby minimize the effect of the negative attacks.

The Law Offices of Constance Bessada will evaluate your specific situation and advise you on an appropriate course of action and has both legal and technical resources available.

California Defamation Law


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