Defamation, Libel and Slander Litigation
Toronto Defamation Lawyers
The Defamation Lawyers at Devry Smith Frank LLP (“DSF”) are here to help you through any litigation you may require.
Have you been defamed? Has someone written something malicious and untrue about you? Has your reputation been ruined?
Generally speaking, a defamatory statement is one which has a tendency to injure the reputation of the person to whom it refers. That is to say, such a statement will lower the person to whom it refers in the estimation of right thinking members of society generally and cause him or her to be regarded with feelings of hatred, contempt, ridicule, fear, dislike, or disesteem.
Defamation is divided into the two categories of libel and slander:
A libelous statement refers to one made by of written or printed words (but may also be made by way of a picture, film, audio recording, or other medium).
A slanderous statement, on the other hand, is made by way of spoken word (but may also include a gesture or sign).
An important difference to note is that slander is not actionable per se but requires proof of special damages, with certain exceptions.
The exceptions include accusing someone of committing a crime, accusing a woman of being unchaste, accusing someone of having a loathsome disease, and accusing a person of being unfit to practice their trade or profession.
Unless one of these exceptions applies then proof of special damage is required. This means that the person slandered must show some form of material or pecuniary loss. General damages for hurt feelings or loss of reputation are not recoverable.
The test to determine whether such a statement is defamatory is an objective one. It does not matter whether the victim thinks that the words are damaging. Rather, the question is what the average decent members of one’s community in general would think or feel about such a statement.
It is not necessary to prove that the defamatory statements were made maliciously. Courts will consider the natural and ordinary meaning of the words used, rather than the intention of the person who used the words. It some cases, courts may also examine secondary meanings or innuendos.
A statement that can be proved to be true is not defamatory and a statement that is false but does not cause harm is also not defamatory. Not every mistake in a publication constitutes defamation.
Similarly, it must be proved that the statement was communicated to, or at least made in, the presence of a third party who understands it.
There are many examples of defamatory statements. To say that a person is a liar, a criminal a crook, a drunk, hideously ugly, or a traitor may be defamatory.
If you believe that you have been defamed, or if someone has accused you of defamation, please contact one of these lawyers at DSF:
Christopher Statham directly at 416-446-5839 or at email@example.com
Larry Keown directly at 416-446-5815 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Marty Rabinovitch directly at 416-446-5826 or at email@example.com