How Some Celebrity Lawyers Do It And Why Your Lawyer Shouldn’t . . .

I understand very well that lawyers have an obligation to zealously advocate on behalf of their clients. However, there are certain tactics which attorneys should never employ. One such tactic is to insert irrelevant matter in a pleading in order to gain a PR advantage over a defendant (e.g., personal details about somebody’s life, irrelevant […]

Examples of the Thin line Between Actionable Statements And Mere Opinions

The question of whether a statement constitutes an actionable statement or merely protected opinion is one of the most difficult questions for a judge to consider in the defamation context. In fact, the California Supreme Court said in a case: "The distinction as to what is a statement of fact and what is a statement […]

Defendants: How To Win A Defamation Case Without Filing An Anti-SLAPP Motion Or Going To Trial

As I sit here and enjoy another sunny day in Los Angeles, California, I think to myself, "man, I’m lucky." I get to litigate cases which intrigue me, and get to help people resolve their disputes without resorting to self-help (in most instances). But you’re not here to listen to my idle musings. You’re reading […]

Defamation By Omission?

I remember sitting in a church pew many years ago hearing the pastor speak about two different kinds of sin:  Sins of "commission" and sins of "omission." I understood very well as a teenager that you weren’t supposed to do bad things (commission), but it was always a bit more abstract and difficult to understand […]

There Are No Magic Words . . .

which will insulate you from liability for defamation. This usually comes into play because people mistakenly believe that only facts are actionable defamation. Wrong. An opinion can form the basis of a cause of action for defamation (slander, libel, and trade libel too) if it implies undisclosed defamatory facts. So just because you say "in […]

Libelous Statements Must Be Specifically Identified

Enough! Enough of the vague allegations that leave defamation defense counsel (like myself) wondering what you mean when you plead, for example, that "defendant made statements indicating that plaintiff is dishonest and is a liar." That is not enough to properly state a cause of action for libel or defamation! “The general rule is that […]

Defamation Defense: Consent

A less common but no less important defense to a cause of action for defamation is the defense of consent. If the defendant can show that the plaintiff consented to the publication of the alleged defamatory statement or statements, it operates as a complete defense. In other words, defendant wins. Under what circumstances has the […]

Defamation Defense: Qualified Privilege

 The last several posts have focused on absolute privileges. Today we’re going to talk about the qualified privilege, which is a lot more common than you might think. A qualified privilege essentially means what it appears to mean. It allows the publisher/speaker to make a statement that would otherwise be defamatory without being held liable for making […]