The 3 Different Types Of Damages in Defamation Cases

A California court may award three kinds of damages to an aggrieved party in a defamation case. What are damages? Damages are monetary compensation for loss or injury to a person or property. In defamation cases, a court is attempting to measure the plaintiff’s loss of reputation as a result of the alleged defamatory statement or statements.

 


 

 

 There are three types of damages that may be sought in a defamation case according to California Civil Code section 48a, et seq.

  1. General Damages – these include "damages for loss of reputation, shame, mortification, and hurt feelings";
  2. Special Damages – these "are all damages plaintiff alleges and proves that he has suffered in respect to his property, trade, profession or occupation including such amounts of money as the plaintiff alleges and proves he has expended . . ."; and
  3. Exemplary Damages – "are damages which may be in the discretion of the court or jury to be recovered in addition to general and special damages for the sake of example and by way of punishing a defendant who has made the publication or broadcast with actual malice."

I’ll explain why it’s important to know what types of damages are available to you in a defamation case in an upcoming post.  

Stay tuned and stay informed.

 

Comments

  1. Joe says

    So courts are now handing out money for “hurt feelings”? I predict a mountain of newly “hurt feelings” in this current economy.

  2. Adrianos Facchetti says

    Joe,
    There is nothing new about courts awarding damages for “hurt feelings.” But you’re right, I have seen a spike in client inquiries from people who have been allegedly defamed. The bottom line is, if someone has been defamed they are entitled to a recovery.

  3. a2z says

    Mr. Facchetti,
    In response to your statement
    -quote- ” if someone has been defamed they are entitled to a recovery.” -end quote-
    That is unless your defamed through court proceedings. Am I correct?

  4. Adrianos Facchetti says

    A2z,
    It would depend on a number of factors not the least of which, whether the litigation privilege applies.

  5. a2z says

    Mr. Facchetti,
    In response to your statement
    -quote- ” if someone has been defamed they are entitled to a recovery.” -end quote-
    That is unless your defamed through court proceedings. Am I correct?

  6. a2z says

    Mr. Facchetti,
    I am not an atty, but it is my understanding that lit/priv. do apply.
    A motion of contempt was filed by DOR where I attended a hearing -without- the judge.
    I proved to DOR the charges were false. She dismissed my evidence stating it was nothing.
    Then got upset with me and said she wanted to wait for the judge. Some 3.5 hours later my case went before the judge. -The last case in court I might add- Where DOR quickly retracted the contempt charges.
    However, there are still a false accusations published on the net.
    Would you agree this is privleged defamation?
    Thanks so much for your quick response!

  7. michael says

    I was accused by a lawyer of improperly involving my students in the preparation of my expert’s report (among other things) and he sent a letter stating the above to 5 administrators. I’ve got a valid claim?

  8. Jack et al. says

    So, a plaintiff can sue for defamation even if the statement(s) is the truth?
    For example, if a doctor materially harms a patient and the patient posts a review of the doctor online, could that be actionable as defamation/libel even though it’s true? Is the distinction if the patient says the doctor is a dirtbag, etc vs. the patient states what happened?

  9. Joan Bigelow says

    Realtor list my property for short sale. emails me a proposal if he sell my property he will rebate back 20% of his commission when I buy my next house.
    I find another realtor that will rebate back 60% when I buy my next house. I tell the first realtor that when his listing is over I’m going to list with realtor #2.Realtor #1 emailed my employer that I’m guilty of loan fraud then emails that I’m guilty of elder abuse. My employer may fire me

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