At Kain Spielman, we strongly believe in upholding and protecting the First Amendment. As a result, we typically represent Defendants who are being wrongfully targeted or deprived of their rights of free expression. It does not matter if your speech is unpopular, as the Constitution protects speech that we do not like as well. Regardless, there are many who feel the need to sue for defamation, without a proper basis. Often these lawsuits come from wealthy individuals who are simply throwing around their power and funded by their large bank accounts. Unfortunately for those individuals, hurt feelings are not enough for such lawsuits. Defamation must do more than merely annoy, embarrass or hurt someone’s feelings. Other first amendment based actions that we believe in are defending individuals or companies who speech is being impaired when a government official or entity is trying to quell their speech through law, regulation or actions (such as citations or shutting down venues or events).
Defamation generally includes libel and slander. Libel consists of any defamation in print, while slander consists of defamatory comments which are oral. In Florida, to recover for libel or slander, a plaintiff must demonstrate that (1) the defendant published a false statement; (2) about the plaintiff; (3) to someone other then the person being defamed; and (4) the plaintiff suffered damages
There are generally four main defenses to defamation, which include privilege, truth, consent, and fair comment or opinion. Some of the privileges include (1) judicial proceedings; (2) legislative proceedings; (3) some executive statements and publications; (4) publications between spouses; and (5) publications required by law. Opinion is often a measure of great debate. Generally, one must prove that the opinion is one that a reasonable person could come to. Of course, there is a balance that must be reached with actionable speech compared to speech protected by First Amendment.
We sometimes represent Plaintiffs when there is a clear violation of the law, but they are very select. Instead we often counsel other attorneys on the holes in their own Defamation cases.
With the increased use of the Internet, including blogs and forums, there has been an unprecedented amount of content production online. At Kain Spielman, we understand the technical issues related to computer law and web site defamation cases. For more information Click Here.