Defamation start when a person or group assumes that someone who has been arrested, despite not having been convicted of a crime, must have committed something. There are several issues with this assumption. As a starting point, the evidentiary standard for a lawful arrest is far from what it is necessary to convict someone of a crime. The subjective standard used to determine if a police officer has reasonable suspicion to detain a suspect undermines the claim that the person is culpable of criminal activity.
Given California’s popularity with celebrities and public figures, the state is known for its high-profile defamation lawsuits. As a result of the state’s reputation, defamation legislations are full of extensive legal precedent.
If you’re looking for a defamation lawyer in California, RP Defense Law, can help you. With 14 years of experience, Ruzanna Poghosyan and serves clients throughout the entire state of California. RP Defense Law APC provides the most thorough and personalized attention to each of its clients. “I went into the field of criminal law to seek justice for the accused, the oppressed and the voiceless. I fight for the rights of those whom society turns their back on,” Ruzanna Poghosyan explains when asked why she chose criminal defense.
Defamation Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for defamation lawsuits in California is one year, per California Code of Civil Procedure section 340(c). This means that you must file a lawsuit within one year of the date the alleged defamatory statement was made. It is not permitted to file a second lawsuit if the plaintiff repeats or republishes the statement within a year. If you wait longer than one year, you may be unable to file a lawsuit at all.
Types of Defamation
- Libel Defamation: Libel defamation is a written statement that is published and is considered to be defamatory. The Californian California Civil Code section 45 defines “Libel is a false and unprivileged publication by writing, printing, picture, effigy, or other fixed representation to the eye, which exposes any person to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy, or which causes him to be shunned or avoided, or which has a tendency to injure him in his occupation.”
- Slander Defamation: According to California Civil Code section 46, slander defamation is “a false and unprivileged publication, orally uttered, and also communications by radio or any mechanical or other means which:
- Charges any person with crime, or with having been indicted, convicted, or punished for crime;
- Imputes in him the present existence of an infectious, contagious, or loathsome disease;
- Tends directly to injure him in respect to his office, profession, trade or business, either by imputing to him general disqualification in those respects which the office or other occupation peculiarly requires, or by imputing something with reference to his office, profession, trade, or business that has a natural tendency to lessen its profits;
- Imputes to him impotence or a want of chastity; or
- Which, by natural consequence, causes actual damage.”
- Disparagement: Disparagement is a form of defamation that is not included in the three main types. It is defined as a statement that harms the reputation of someone else. This type of defamation can be either oral or written. It may also be published or not published. Unlike libel and slander, there is no requirement that the statement be false in order to constitute disparagement.
Defenses Against Defamation Lawsuit In California
There are several defenses that can be used in a defamation lawsuit in California. The most common defenses are truth, opinion, and privilege.
Truth: If the defendant can prove that the statement is true, then they will be able to defeat a defamation lawsuit.
Opinion: Opinion is a defense to defamation if the statement is not factually based. In order to be successful with this defense, the defendant must show that the statement was their honest opinion and not based on any facts.
Privilege: Several types of privilege can be used as a defense in a defamation lawsuit. Some of these include absolute privilege, qualified privilege, and fair report privilege.
Contact RP Defense As Your Defamation Lawsuit Lawyer
If you are the target of libel or slander in California been accused of defamation, it is essential to contact an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. RP Defense has successfully defended many clients against defamation lawsuits and can help you understand your rights and options. Schedule a consultation today to learn more.
You can contact us to schedule your initial, free defamation consultation by calling (818) 646-3443 or filling out our contact form.